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9 



DIAZ 

MASTER OF MEXICO 







F. L. Clarke, Photo.. Mexico City. 

PRESIDENT PORFIRIO DIAZ IN His EIGHTIETH YEAR. 



DIAZ 

MASTER OF MEXICO 



BY 



JAMES CREELMAN 




ILLUSTRATED 



NEW YORK AND LONDON 

D. APPLETON AND COMPANY 

1911 



COPYRIGHT, 1911, BY 
D. APPLETON AND COMPANY 



Published February, 1911 



Printed in the United States of America 



SEEN BY 







PREFACE 



THE thrilling story of Porfirio Diaz has been told 
many times, yet always detached from Mexican history 
as a whole. The result has been highly confusing, usually 
misleading; and one has turned away from the tale feel- 
ing that modern Mexico has not been explained. In the 
raw attempt to apply the perfected institutions of Anglo- 
Saxon civilization to the descendants of the dusky races 
which inhabited Mexico before the discovery of America 
by Columbus, the Mexican statesmen of 1824 put the 
principles of democratic government to a terrible ordeal. 
Without keeping this experiment in mind, it is quite im- 
possible to realize the profound significance of Diaz's 
extraordinary career and the importance of his work to 
all students of statecraft. He was summoned to power 
from a youth of poverty and obscurity by the necessities 
of his divided and demoralized country ; and he is as truly 
a creation of the weakness of his people as the peaceful 
and progressive Mexico of to-day is largely the product 
of his strength and common sense. In these times of 
radical agitation, when sentimental democracy screams 
its epigrams against the hard, rough, slow work that con- 
fronts organized society in all countries, there is much to 
be learned in the life of this greatest Latin- American 
leader, from his brilliant, righting youth to his white old 

v 



PREFACE 

age, in which he sitsthe acknowledged master of progress 
and comparative plenty. 

The author has had the advantage of many extended 
conversations with President Diaz and the other leading 
men of the Mexican republic. Much has been drawn 
from the President's private memoirs. Many books and 
records have been searched and many parts of Mexico 
visited. All financial statements are to be understood as 
in Mexican currency. 

The object of this work is neither to attack nor to 
defend, but to explain, the most interesting man of the 
most misunderstood and misrepresented country in the 
world. 

j. c. 

NEW YORK, 1910. 



CONTENTS 



CHAPTER PAGE 

I. THE QUICK AND THE DEAD i 

II. OPPRESSED MEXICO TRIES ANGLO-SAXON INSTITU- 
TIONS . . . 12 

III. BIRTH AND BOYHOOD OF DIAZ 32 

IV. DIAZ TURNS FROM THE PRIESTHOOD TO THE LAW . 43 

V. DEFYING THE DICTATOR SANTA ANNA ... 54 

VI. ON THE THRESHOLD OF CIVIL WAR . . .63 

VII. DIAZ'S FIRST BAPTISM OF BLOOD .... 73 

VIII. FIGHTING FOR THE REPUBLIC IN TEHUANTEPEC . 80 

IX. DIAZ RESCUES His NATIVE CITY . . . .98 

X. DEATH GRAPPLE OF CHURCH AND STATE . .106 

XI. DIAZ IN A TALKATIVE CONGRESS . . . .115 

XII. NAPOLEON PLANS A MEXICAN EMPIRE . . .126 

XIII. BATTLE OF THE FIFTH OF MAY 143 

XIV. DIAZ is CAPTURED AND ESCAPES . . . .154 
XV. NAPOLEON ENTHRONES MAXIMILIAN IN MEXICO . 171 
XVI. DIAZ KEEPS THE REPUBLIC ALIVE IN THE SOUTH . 184 
XVII. THE EMPEROR MAXIMILIAN TRIES TO TEMPT DIAZ . 194 
XVIII. DIAZ, TAKEN PRISONER, AGAIN ESCAPES . . 204 
XIX. OAXACA'S HERO RENEWS THE WAR AGAINST MAXI- 
MILIAN 223 

XX. IN BATTLE AGAIN FOR His BIRTHPLACE . . . 233 
XXI. NAPOLEON DESERTS MAXIMILIAN BAZAINE TEMPTS 

DIAZ 241 

XXII. DIAZ DESTROYS MAXIMILIAN'S POWER IN BATTLE . 256 
XXIII. THE MERCIFUL SIEGE OF MEXICO CITY . . . 270 

vii 



CONTENTS 

CHAPTER PAGE 

XXIV. EXECUTION OF MAXIMILIAN 284 

XXV. BRINGING ORDER OUT OF CHAOS .... 294 

XXVI. DIAZ ABANDONS JUAREZ AND TURNS FARMER . . 302 

XXVII. UNSHEATHING His SWORD AGAINST JUAREZ . . 319 

XXVIII. FIGHTING FOR AN ENDURING MEXICO . . . 326 

XXIX. How DIAZ WON THE PRESIDENCY .... 335 

XXX. THE SOLDIER BECOMES A NATION'S MASTER . . 346 

f XXXI. ORDER WAITS ON STRENGTH, LAW ON ORDER . 358 

><- I XXXII. RETURN TO THE PRESIDENCY SAVING MEXICO 

FROM BANKRUPTCY 370, 

^XXXIII. WONDERFUL RESULTS OF DIAZ'S RULE . . .381 

XXXIV. THE REAL MEXICAN PROBLEM 396 

XXXV. WILL THE MEXICAN REPUBLIC STAND? . . . 410 



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 



FACING 
PAGE 

President Porfirio Diaz in His Eightieth Year . Frontispiece 

President Diaz Laying a Wreath on the Tomb of Juarez . . 8 

Benito Juarez 46 

The National Palace, City of Mexico 76 

Diaz at the Age of Thirty-one Years, Just After His Victory Over 

Marquez at Jalatlaco 122 

General Diaz in the Battle of the Fifth of May . . . .144 
President Diaz and His Son in Chapultepec Park .... 206 
Chapultepec Castle, the Summer Residence of President Diaz . 244 

Diaz When He was a Farmer, a Year Before He Became President 

for the First Time 308 

Madam Diaz 368 

General Diaz When He Became President for the Second Time, 

in 1884 . . ' . . 376 

Don Jose Yves Limantour, Mexico's Great Secretary of Finance . 412 



DIAZ 

MASTER OF MEXICO 



CHAPTER I 

THE QUICK AND THE DEAD 

UNCOVERING his soldierly white head, President 
Diaz approached .the tomb of Benito Juarez in the 
strange little graveyard-pantheon of San Fernando. 

In his eightieth year the master and hero of modern 
Mexico protagonist of the American hemisphere and 
inscrutable mystery to students of government stood 
with all the grace and strength of an old warrior as he 
looked into the sculptured face of the immortal Indian 
lawyer-statesman, under whose leadership in the far val- 
ley of Oaxaca he had turned his boyish soul away from 
priestly ambitions and drawn a sword that was not 
sheathed until the Mexican republic rose at last from its 
long night of shame, confusion, weakness, and misery 
to take a place among the honored and trusted nations 
of the world. 

In spite of his years, Porfirio Diaz seemed the in- 
carnation of power and courage. 

All about him were the graves and monuments of 
Mexican leaders General Guerrero, a soldier of the 
first struggle for independence, afterwards President, 
and betrayed to a bloody death by treachery; Ignacio 

I 



DIAZ, MASTER OF MEXICO 

Comonfort, a^o President, murdered in cold blood by 
Mexican traitors; General Zaragoza, who drove, back 
the French invaders on the unforgetable Fifth of May; 
General Arteaga, slain in cold blood by Maximilian's 
orders; Generals Miramon and Mejia, executed with 
Maximilian, when the fall of the Austrian invader's be- 
spangled empire marked the last interference of armed 
Europe with the republics of America. 

The victorious survivor of a . half century of wars 
and treacheries almost unparalleled in human history 
with imaginative democracy, monarchy, and ecclesiasti- 
cal power in a death grapple the strength and common 
sense of Diaz had given more than thirty years of peace 
to his country. 

From the faded pink and brown walls of the church 
of San Fernando, hard by, came a sound of solemn Sab- 
bath chanting, and the sudden clamor of bells above the 
ancient altars of the Mexican capital echoed harshly 
among the gray memorials where the maker of a nation 
communed with its dead past. 

His high, wide forehead sloped up to stiff, white 
hair, and jutted over deep-set, dark, soul-searching eyes 
soft eyes, quick, sidewise-darting eyes; formidable, 
fierce eyes; friendly, confiding, humorous eyes and 
the strong, broad nose, whose sensitive nostrils dilated 
with every emotion, went well with the tremendous 
crunch of the wide, powerful jaws, sweeping from large, 
flat ears, lying close to the head; the massive, square 
chin, the large, expressive mouth, swept by a crisp, 
snowy mustache ; the pointed, fighting head, the short, 
muscular neck, the wide shoulders and deep chest. 

There was a magnetic something in the eyes, a tense 
erectness and dignity in the slender figure, a nervous 
challenge in the lift of the head, that suggested a virility 

2 



THE QUICK AND THE DEAD 

and tenacity that could defy the strains and shocks of a 
lifetime of adventures, perils, and temptations. 

With a gesture of reverence the venerable leader 
laid a garland of fresh violets on the marble figure 
stretched tragically among dusty wreaths and faded rib- 
bons. At that moment the bugles and drums of distant 
soldiery answered the wild tumult of bells, as though 
the tribute of Diaz living to Juarez dead had for a mo- 
ment summoned from the past the struggle between 
Church and State that for more than fifty years deso- 
lated Mexico and reddened its soil with blood. Then 
the sounds died down and all was quiet in the small 
national cemetery where patriot and traitor, soldier 
and statesman, republican and imperialist, lay together 
in the earth, indifferent alike to wars, stratagems, or 
treasons. 

There was a time when even Diaz and Juarez were 
at war. Between the deeds of the one and the theories 
of the other lay the whole length and breadth of the 
problem of civilized government. For when Mexico 
threw herself shouting into Anglo-Saxon forms of 
democracy, she challenged her own history and tradi- 
tions, ignored the instincts of the blood running in her 
veins, forgot the wrecked temples and palaces and the 
extinguished civilization of her prehistoric peoples turn- 
ing in a day of heroic emotion to institutions possible 
only to nations of the highest political capacity and 
those who had suffered together in the name of the long- 
oppressed republic drifted into war again, unconscious, 
perhaps, that the real question at issue was whether a 
political principle or a political method, true or possible 
in one place, is true or possible in all places, or if race 
or climate or time, or all three together, must determine 
whether a nation should be temporarily or permanently 

3 



DIAZ, MASTER OF MEXICO 

ruled from the. bottom upward or from the top down- 
ward. 

It was the patient loyalty of Juarez, "the man in 
the black coat," to abstract ideals of democracy, that in- 
spired Victor Hugo, the master romancist, to address 
to the Indian President his famous greeting after the 
fall of Maximilian's empire in 1867: 

" America has two heroes, Lincoln and thee ; Lincoln, 
by whom slavery has died, and thee, by whom liberty has 
lived. Mexico has been saved by a principle, by a man. 
Thou art that man ! " 

Yet, above all things Benito Juarez was a lawyer. 
He had vision without executive strength. He was 
more interested in theories of government than in gov- 
ernment itself. Although his pen gave the deathblow 
to ecclesiastical tyranny and he courageously shed the 
blood of imperial Maximilian, giving to the world a 
rare example of modest dignity, forbearance, and loyalty 
to principle, neither his purity of purpose nor his under- 
standing of philosophical and governmental theories 
could bring peace and prosperity to a people speaking 
fifty-six tongues, degraded and impoverished by cen- 
turies of misgovernment, a country swept again and 
again by civil wars and invasions a confused nation, 
with an empty treasury, without credit at home or 
abroad, swarming with armed bandits, wasted and tor- 
mented by successive insurrections. 

Peace and honor to the ashes of the incorruptible 
patriot in whom the unmixed blood of aboriginal 
America found its supreme vindication! His place in 
history is safe. 

But to his successor, Porfirio Diaz, fell the task of 
bringing peace, order, strength, credit, and progress to 

4 



THE QUICK AND THE DEAD 

Mexico. In him is blended the blood of the primitive 
Mixtecs with that of the invading Spaniards. For thirty 
years he has ruled his country. At times his govern- 
ment has been harsh, but it has been actual government. 

When the great Juarez died, the Mexicans were poor, 
divided, and prostrate. From the leaders at the capital 
the cry of triumphant democracy had gone forth to a 
people almost without commerce or industry and ready 
to spring at each other's throats again. The police were" ji 
ji jest. The courts were corrupt. There were no banks 
to take the place of the all-powerful and money-lending 
Church, now stripped of its wealth. Kidnaping was 
common, even in the streets of the capital. Highway ' 
robbers held all the roads, mingling oaths with a stilted 
rights-of-man jargon. Mexican national securities were 
selling in London at ten cents on the dollar. 'Mexican 
credit at home and abroad was a subject of laughter. 

It was not until Porfirio Diaz became the master of 
Mexico, and the power, intelligence, and practical jus- 
tice of his leadership marched irresistibly through the 
merely beautiful abstractions of imaginative democracy 
to an actual and unbroken peace, that the people of 
Mexico ceased to be a chaos of political and religious 
contentions and became a nation. 

Not that liberty perished. Not that the democratic 
Constitution ceased to be held up as the unchanged and 
unchangeable abstract ideal of political and social justice. 
But tranquillity, unity, and order being the foundations 
of civilization, upon which all prosperity, development, 
and credit must rest, President Diaz set his face against 
war in a country wholly given up to war, and by the 
very might of his character the hero of fifty battles 
turned from a soldier into a statesman, leading his coun- 
try into habits of industry, establishing the national 

5 



DIAZ, MASTER OF MEXICO 

credit in all lands, drawing hundreds of millions of dol- 
lars of foreign capital into the republic, until its states 
are traversed by thousands of miles of railways and 
united by telegraphs, with vast systems of manufactures 
supplementing the rapidly growing riches of mining and 
agriculture, all served by splendid new seaports and 
other public works; so that, with constantly multiplying 
schools and colleges fertilizing the national intelligence, 
with a full treasury, with a generation of unbroken peace, 
with Mexican bonds selling in the markets of the 
world at a higher price than those of ancient European 
nations, with the word of Mexico good in all countries 
there is little cause for wonder that, whether Porfirio 
Diaz has governed his country according to the theory 
of Anglo-Saxon countries or according to the capacities 
and necessities of the mass of his countrymen, it is the 
verdict of the world that he alone has known how to turn 
a mob into a people conscious of nationality, and that, 
all institutional theories aside, he must be ranked among 
the nation-makers of history. 

The opinion of responsible men everywhere was 
summed up by President Roosevelt when he wrote from 
the White House on March 7, 1908: 

" President Diaz is the greatest statesman now liv- 
ing, and he has done for his country what no other 
living man has done for any other country which is the 
supreme test of the value of statesmanship," 

The most astonishing thing about this foremost man 
of the modern Americas is that his serene, peaceful, and 
unerring work as a statesman and ruler contrasts so 
dramatically with an earlier career of almost continuous 
fighting, with such romantic adventures, hand-to-hand 
struggles, hairbreadth escapes, imprisonments, flights, 

6 



THE QUICK AND THE DEAD 

victories, and defeats, that his youth seems almost legend- 
ary. One phase of character that persists all through 
the story of his life is uncorruptibility and consistency 
of purpose. 

President Diaz is not an Anglo-Saxon. He admires 
Anglo-Saxon institutions. He believes that democracy 
is the only just principle of government. He knows that 
democracy in all its parts is possible only to people who 
have natural self-restraint and an abstract respect for 
law. His success in bringing his country out of con- 
fusion, strife, poverty and ignominy has given him an 
influence among Mexicans so great that for thirty years, 
in spite of democratic theories, he has governed Mexico 
with the power of an autocrat. Nor has he ever shown 
the slightest desire to insure a continuance of his power 
by modifying the written form of the republic. His life 
has been a bridge over which he hopes his people may 
walk into a more perfect civil liberty. But he has 
learned to draw a distinction between the truths that 
lead to anarchy and the methods that produce peace, 
prosperity, and, ultimately, concord. And, however 
much he may believe in the future possibilities of the gen- 
tle and likeable races who have developed so many capa- 
ble men in the professions, and who have shown so much 
bravery in fighting for national independence, he has seen 
in the history of his country abundant evidence that the 
hard individual responsibilities of citizenship, which go 
with absolute democratic government, cannot be assumed 
in their entirety by the whole Mexican people until edu- 
cation and established habits of industry have prepared 
the way. 

It is not fair to attempt a raw contrast between the 
work of Juarez and the achievements of Diaz. Juarez 
served a great purpose greatly. He kept alive a prin- 
2 7 



DIAZ, MASTER OF MEXICO 

ciple. But Diaz created a nation. There was in Diaz 
the practical wisdom of Marcellus, the grammarian, 
when he said to. Tiberius, "Caesar, thou canst give the 
Roman citizenship to men, but not to words." 

Seldom in history do we find the absolute idealist a 
successful ruler. His tendency is to soften or ignore 
facts when they conflict with theories. His most effect- 
ive function is to inspire the spirit of government, to 
search out and make clear the just ends of government, 
and to promote a cheerful, intelligent, loyal, and gen- 
eral acceptance of the necessary burdens of government, 
rather than to direct the methods of government. 

Washington solemnly declared that his confidence 
in the Constitution of the United States lay in the ad- 
mirable spirit of compromise in which it. was conceived. 
And if the wisest and best-poised statesman of his age 
could say that of the great organic law in which the un- 
conquerable aspirations and capacities of the Anglo- 
Saxon race burst into blossom, what must philosophy 
statelier name for common sense say of the varying 
shifts and compromises which inevitably lie between 
the noble democratic formulas borrowed from Anglo- 
Saxons by imaginative Mexican patriots, and the peace, 
prosperity and ultimate individual liberty which are the 
supreme objects of the republic, a vast majority of 
whose citizens can neither read nor write, are indi- 
vidually indifferent to political institutions, and appar- 
ently descended from many Oriental, probably Asiatic, 
bloods ? 

There is no more heroic, no more picturesque, no 
more commanding and appealing figure in the world 
than Porfirio Diaz, in whose veins leaps the tide-rip of 
two races and two civilizations ; nor does modern history 
present a more wonderful and bewildering problem than 

8 



THE QUICK AND THE DEAD 

Mexico, the mystery of whose remote past, unreadable 
in prehistoric palaces and temples, makes her future all 
the more searchless. 

In the name of religion, the Spanish priests who went 
to Mexico under the protection of Hernan Cortes and 
his steel-clad conquistadores extinguished an entire civili- 
zation reaching back, perhaps, thousands of years, by a 
systematic, pitiless, and complete destruction of its 
records. 

The long and bloody struggle which drove the Span- 
ish flag from Mexico was followed by a savage and, 
at times, almost barbarous conflict between the repub- 
lican forces and ecclesiastical authority, which stripped 
the arrogant and licentious monastic orders of their 
civic powers, sheared the Church of its enormous prop- 
erties, abolished its exclusive privileges, and politically 
disfranchised its priesthood, leaving the government of 
the triumphant republic to an experimental democratic 
statesmanship seeking to express an unlimited imagina- 
tion in the terms of a provincial experience. 

Then the country was mangled by invaders and an 
imperial Mexican throne was invented for the Austrian 
Archduke Maximilian by Napoleon III, the weak and 
treacherous monarch whose gambler's dream of opening 
up a career for the Latin race on the American continent 
not only included the destruction of the Mexican repub- 
lic but apparently also the ultimate conquest of the great 
Anglo-Saxon democracy under whose shelter all other 
American republics remained secure against the ambi- 
tions of armed European monarchy. 

There were days when the independence of Mexico, 
if not the future of the American hemisphere, seemed 
to hang upon Porfirio Diaz. If he had failed to climb in 
the darkness down the rope that swung from the roof 

9 



DIAZ, MASTER OF MEXICO 

of his convent prison in Puebla; if he had accepted the 
imperial bribe of Maximilian and turned his sword 
against the republic ; if he had lost the decisive battle of 
Puebla, which made possible the siege of the capital 
and left Maximilian helpless in Queretaro; if he had 
thought of himself rather than his cause, and weakened, 
lost heart, or blundered in any of the crises which hinged 
upon his courage, patriotism, and power Napoleon III 
might have intrenched himself upon the ruins of Mexi- 
can liberty and at least attempted the armed conquest of 
democracy in the new world. When Maximilian and 
his invaders had driven a wedge of bayonets across the 
heart of Mexico; when President Juarez was driven 
northward until his fugitive government had to take asy- 
lum in a village beside the distant American frontier in 
that time of weakness and despair it was the young sol- 
dier, Diaz, who kept the spirit of resistance alive, who 
gathered about him the poor and despised Indians, 
thrilled them by his appeals to their patriotism, taught 
them how to fight, and, cut off from communication with 
Juarez or his ministers, created and equipped a native 
army and led it irresistibly through a wilderness of vol- 
canic mountains and parched valleys against veteran 
white troops under famous European officers, outwitting 
Napoleon's experienced commanders, smashing the im- 
perial lines with his ragged Indian volunteers, and driv- 
ing the enemy back steadily until the last great victory 
was won and President Juarez passed again into the 
Mexican capital through the ranks of Diaz's troops, to 
raise over the national palace the flag of the republic 
which his faithful general placed in his hands. 

But what Diaz accomplished as a soldier, his mar- 
velous, almost incredible adventures, and his resistance 
to temptation, are less important, although they may 

10 



THE QUICK AND THE DEAD 

more deeply stir the average imagination, than the peace- 
ful thirty years of his work as President of the republic. 
It is that long stretch of strong, wise, upbuilding regen- 
erating statesmanship that lifts him in his old age to 
such a height -of distinction that he is known in all lands 
and that his name is accepted everywhere as a guaranty 
for his country. 

It was Juarez who said, " Respect for the rights of 
others is peace." These wise words are chiseled on 
most of the monuments erected to the memory of the 
Indian lawyer. But respect for the rights of others is 
not a natural instinct in all races. It is the pre- 
vailing habit in some races; in others it seems scarcely 
to exist at all. Without it true democracy is impossible. 
In almost exact proportion as the citizens of a country 
respect each other's rights the government becomes an 
automatic agency of the popular will. There can be no 
sounder statement than that a free nation is not a mech- 
anism, but an organism in which every cell is conscious ; 
and it follows that until prolonged peace, education, and 
industry completely develop the intelligence and absorb 
the energies of the mass of the Mexican people the guid- 
ing idea of Mexico should be found in President Diaz's 
abrupt but^practicaljiiottQ^ " jLess politicsjind 
ministration." 



CHAPTER II 

OPPRESSED MEXICO TRIES ANGLO-SAXON INSTITUTIONS 

To understand how Diaz made a peaceful and pros- 
perous nation out of the Mexican people it is well to 
defer the story of his picturesque and thrillingly adven- 
turous youth and know something of the heterogeneous 
human elements that were poured, crushed but unmelted 
and unassimilated, into the uncongenial mold of democ- 
racy by an earlier patriotism innocent or forgetful of 
the fact that self-government after the fashion of Anglo- 
Saxon peoples is an inheritance as well as an achieve- 
ment. 

Not only are fifty-five native tongues spoken to-day 
in the republic, but there are still standing the ruins of 
thousands of palaces, temples, and forts whose histories 
were already forgotten when the discovery of America 
was followed by the Spanish conquest of Mexico. 

In the peninsula of Yucatan alone these often majes- 
tic and richly carved ruins, built by the primitive Mayas, 
include more than ten thousand, and, possibly, a hundred 
thousand, hewn-stone structures, most of them repre- 
senting architecture of singular and noble beauty. Many 
of the temples, palaces, and forts are buildings of im- 
mense size and massiveness. Some are set on the top 
of lofty truncated pyramids. These mighty ruins, 
chiseled before metal tools were known in America at 
least no trace has ever been found of any but hard stone 

12 



OPPRESSED MEXICO 

instruments stretch over hundreds of miles of almost 
desolate country. They were but the public structures 
of a people whose dwelling huts turned to dust in the 
prehistoric age. It is estimated that the ancient popula- 
tion of the Yucatan peninsula alone may have been 
20,000,000 persons. To-day it is less than 400,000, in- 
cluding Campeche and Quintana Roo. 

This peninsula is only a fourteenth part of the terri- 
tory of the Mexican republic, which has an area of 
767,259 square miles and is as large as the combined 
soils of France, Austro-Hungary, England, Ireland, 
Scotland, Italy, Holland, Portugal, and Belgium. Yet 
the evidence of an antique and highly developed civiliza- 
tion among the Mayas is so vast as to strike the be- 
holder into awe. For strength as well as imaginative 
richness these memorials of vanished American culture 
challenge the stateliest ruins of Egypt, China, or India. 
The wrecked grandeur of Chichen-Itza and Uxmal is 
more tragically mysterious than Delhi or Luxor. It is 
difficult to understand why this wonderful country has 
not drawn the American traveling public in multitudes to 
its thrilling scenes of vanished civilization. 

There can be no doubt that the Mayas are Orientals. 
Their faces, heads, and bodies, their manners, habits, 
and ways of thinking, alternately suggest, like their 
wonderful ruins, China, Corea, India, Japan, Java, and 
the Malay peninsula. 

The matchless ruins of Mitla, standing in mute love- 
liness in the lonely Oaxaca valley, suggest in their dim 
frescoes, monoliths, and mosaic walls of cut stone mem- 
ories of the architects of the Nile valley. The prehistoric 
sculptures of Palenque, in Chiapas ; the monstrous pyra- 
mid of Cholula, in the wide Puebla valley, where Cortes 
and his armed men saw a^city with 400 temple towers 

* 



DIAZ, MASTER OF- MEXICO 

and promptly slew 6,000 of its inhabitants; the im- 
mense pyramids of San Juan Teotihuacan, near Mexico 
City, with their buried treasures of carved green jade, 
obsidian knives, masks, terra-cotta heads, and other 
primitive objects, bearing designs irresistibly suggestive 
of early Egypt from mountainous Sonora, in the 
northwest, down through 2,000 miles to the very fron- 
tiers of Guatemala, the astounding remains of civiliza- 
tion left by the Mayas, Zapotecs, Toltecs, Otomies, 
Chichimecs, Totonacs, Tlaxcalans, and other peoples 
who built cities, with temples and palaces, and had or- 
ganized governments and religions many centuries be- 
fore the discovery of America by Europe, all bear witness 
to the fact that the present Indian population of Mexico 
is descended from races and civilizations that came from 
across the seas. 

The tremendous importance of this lies in the fact 
that probably eighty per cent of the present native in- 
habitants of Mexico are Indians or part Indians. There 
are varying theories of the relative proportions of white 
and Indian blood in the country, but no reliable figures. 
President Diaz's own estimate gives about twenty per 
cent of pure white blood to Mexico. Archaeologists who 
have spent their lives studying the ancient ruins; eth- 
nologists who have analyzed the mental, moral, and 
physical traits of the living populations; statesmen and 
scholars who have searched out and compared their 
political tendencies and capacities; and religious leaders 
who have tested their spiritual understandings and in- 
clinations all these admit that the precise origin of the 
Mexican Indians and the manner of their journey to 
America are mysteries which only dreamers or charla- 
tans pretend to solve. But practically all authorities 
agree that these Indians are the descendants of Orientals 



OPPRESSED MEXICO 

who built the majestic ruins which are at once the won- 
der and despair of archaeology the greatest and most 
fascinating mystery of human history. 

There is much, very much, to indicate that a large 
part of the elder Mexicans came from Asia. Thousands 
upon thousands of green jade objects have been dug out 
of ruins so old that even when the Spaniards forced 
their way into the country the natives had no traditions 
about them. Little Mongolian masks of jade, death 
masks of marvelously carved Asiatic faces not barbaric 
inventions, but obvious and appealing portraits, worked 
out with almost Greek nicety have been found in the 
valley of Oaxaca, not far from the Mitla ruins. 

Not an atom of this jade has ever been found in a 
state of nature anywhere on the American hemisphere, 
although it has furnished ornaments for the peoples of 
China and other Asiatic countries for thousands of years. 
For three quarters of a century archaeologists and miner- 
alogists have searched the mountains and valleys of 
Mexico in vain for jade deposits. Yet the presence of 
jade masks, idols, animals, beads, and other ornaments 
in the most sacred palaces and temples of ancient Mexico 
shows that the stone was as greatly prized by the primi- 
tive Americans as by Asiatics. How did the jade come 
to be in Mexico before Columbus crossed the Atlantic 
if it did not come from the Far East? 

It matters little how these races got to America; by 
means of a continent, or of islands now sunk in the 
ocean, or whether they crossed into Alaska, or were the 
descendants of successive groups whose ships were blown 
by storms over the ocean that, at least, has happened 
in the time of recorded history. The thing that seems to 
be almost indisputable is that the masses of the Mexican 
nation are racially Orientals, that their blood derives 

15 



DIAZ, MASTER OF MEXICO 

from the Egyptians or Indians, or Mongols or Malays, 
or Coreans or Japanese or is a mixture of all or a part 
of these peoples. The stupendous architecture left on 
Mexican soil by their remote ancestors has too many 
close resemblances to Oriental art to be merely acci- 
dental. Besides, there are no crude, barbarian begin- 
nings from which the architecture of ancient Mexico 
grew. The vanished builders whose works astonish and 
thrill the traveler of to-day must have already possessed 
a highly developed knowledge of architecture when they 
reached America. 

There are those who hold that all the ancient civiliza- 
tions of America, from Peru to Mexico, are the result 
of Mongol conquests; that, after the defeat of a vast 
Mongolian army sent in ships by Kublai Khan to con- 
quer Japan in the year 1284, a part of the beaten forces 
found their way across the Pacific Ocean, seized Peru, 
established the Inca dynasties, and created a new civiliza- 
tion; that the wonderful Toltecs, who preceded the 
Aztecs in Mexico, were, in the sixth century, compelled 
to flee from their homes in Mongolia, near Lake Baikal, 
to escape the mounted hordes of the pitiless Turkish 
Grand Khan which swept across Asia, the fugitives hav- 
ing no other chance for life than a desperate voyage 
over the seas in search of new land ; and that the Aztecs 
and the six tribes which accompanied them to America 
were the seven Mongol tribes which emigrated after one 
of the bloodiest battles in history, which took place in the 
year 1179. 

While this explanation of the astounding ruins and 
puzzling races of Mexico is largely theoretical, there is 
much to support it in what is known of the laws, cus- 
toms, ceremonials, and monuments of the prehistoric 
American civilizations. But, whatever the truth of this 

16 



OPPRESSED MEXICO 

may be, one finds enough to explain the Mexico of to- 
day in the practical certainty that the brown-skinned and 
yellow-skinned races, and their hybrids, which make up 
at least three quarters of the republic's population, de- 
scend from Oriental bloods, to which truly democratic 
political institutions are alien if not impossible. 

These people were cannibals when the Spaniards 
found them. They sacrificed human beings to their gods 
everywhere and the priests ate the limbs of the victims. 
It was a common thing for Mexican warriors to eat their 
prisoners. Throughout the country, in all the townships, 
there were cagelike jails, in which men, women, and 
children were carefully fattened, so that they might be 
more palatable and nourishing when killed. One has 
but to read the many histories of the conquest of Mexico 
to realize the appalling prevalence of human sacrifice and 
cannibalism among the long-settled and civilized peoples 
whose descendants, three hundred years afterwards, un- 
dertook the vast responsibilities of absolute democratic 
government, an experiment which even the most enlight- 
ened and politically developed nation in the world has 
not yet completely vindicated in practice. 

The most daring of the early statesmen who estab- 
lished Anglo-Saxon civilization in America did not 
dream of intrusting their government to the suffrages of 
the aboriginal American tribes, nor did Washington, 
Hamilton, or Jefferson suggest the enfranchisement of 
the Indians as a basis for free American institutions. 
Not that the fierce, barbarous nomads of the North are 
to be compared to the gentle and lovable descendants 
of ancient Mexican civilizations. But only a hundred 
years before the Pilgrims landed on Plymouth Rock to 
prepare the way for the grandest and sincerest experi- 
ment in democratic government ever attempted by man, 

17 



DIAZ, MASTER OF MEXICO 

the Spanish conquerors found everywhere in Mexico 
altars dripping with human blood and temples whose 
walls were black with the stains of slaughter. 

It was the same in all regions, a chain of theocratic 
monarchies or chieftainships although the Tlaxcalans 
were ruled by an elected oligarchy and the great Aztec 
empire, under Montezuma, practically supreme on the 
great central plateau, his capital in the midst of a flooded 
valley, 7,500 feet above sea level wherever the Span- 
iards went they found before the many gods of the 
country human hearts freshly torn from living bodies 
and a vast priesthood feasting on the remains of the 
sacrifices ; all that was not fed to wild beasts. 

It may be that the shallow and ignorant few who 
attempt to compare the government of Mexico with the 
government of the United States, because their organic 
laws agree, can gain enlightenment by considering the 
fact that about six sevenths of the population of the 
United States belong to the pure white and developed 
European races, while more than three quarters of the 
citizens of Mexico are descendants, or part descendants, 
of the dusky peoples who lived in that country at the time 
of Cortes's invasion. It is not a subject for compari- 
son, but for contrast. The wonder is that, after three 
hundred years of Spanish misgovernment and fifty years 
of savage civil wars, even the most devoted and skillful 
statesmanship should have made of Mexico a nation of 
peace and progress. 

Those who criticise the policies by which President 
Diaz has saved his people from the demoralizing ex- 
tremes of merely imaginative democracy, sternly pursu- 
ing the objects of democracy rather than worshiping its 
formulas, may well recall the description written by Ber- 
nal Diaz, one of the conquistador es who accompanied 

18 



OPPRESSED MEXICO 

Cortes, of the mighty teocali, or temple, which the van- 
quished Aztec emperor showed to the Spanish leader. 
It helps to an understanding of the blanketed and bare- 
footed masses whose forefathers produced the condi- 
tions and ideals represented by the rule of Montezuma 
and his kind less than four hundred years ago : 

" On each of these basements stood a gigantic, fat- 
looking figure, of which the one on the right hand repre- 
sented the god of war, Huitzilopochtli. This idol had 
a very broad face, with distorted and furious-looking 
eyes, and was covered all over with jewels, gold, and 
pearls. Large serpents, likewise, covered with gold and 
precious stones, wound round the body of this monster, 
which held in one hand a bow, and in the other a bunch 
of arrows. . . . Around Huitzilopochtli's neck were fig- 
ures representing human faces and hearts made of gold 
and silver and decorated with blue stones. In front of 
him stood several perfuming pans with copal, the in- 
cense of the country; also the hearts of three Indians, 
who had that day been slaughtered, were now consuming 
before him as a burnt offering. Every wall of this 
chapel and the whole floor had become almost black with 
human blood, and the stench was abominable. 

" On the left hand stood another figure of the same 
size as Huitzilopochtli. Its face was very much like that 
of a bear; its shining eyes were made of tetzcat, the 
looking-glass of the country. This idol, like its brother 
Huitzilopochtli, was completely covered with precious 
stones, and was called Tetzcatlipuca. This was the god 
of hell, and the souls of the dead Mexicans stood under 
him. A circle of figures wound round its body, resem- 
bling diminutive devils with serpents' tails. The walls 
and floor around this idol were also besmeared with 
blood, and the stench was worse than in a Spanish 
slaughter house. Five human hearts had that day been 
sacrificed to him. On the very top of this temple stood 
another chapel . . . also another idol, half man and half 

19 



DIAZ, MASTER OF MEXICO 

lizard, completely^ covered with precious stones. ... I 
have, however, forgotten its name, but not that here, 
also, everything was besmeared with blood, and the 
stench so offensive that we could not have stayed there 
much longer. . . . This platform was altogether cov- 
ered with a variety of hellish objects large and small 
trumpets, huge slaughtering knives, and burnt hearts of 
Indians who had been sacrificed : everything clotted with 
coagulated blood, cursed to the sight and creating horror 
in the mind. . . . 

' There also stood near this same door other figures 
resembling devils and serpents, and not far from this an 
altar encrusted with blood grown black, and some that 
had recently been spilt. In a building adjoining this we 
perceived a quantity of dishes and basins of various 
shapes. These were filled with water and served to 
cook the flesh of the unfortunate beings who had been 
sacrificed, which flesh was eaten by the priests. Near to 
the altar were lying several daggers, and wooden blocks 
similar to those used by our butchers for hacking meat 
on. . . . 

" Next to this temple was another in which human 
skulls and bones were piled up, though both apart ; their 
number was endless. This place had also its appropriate 
idols, and in all these temples we found priests clad in 
long black mantles, with hoods shaped like those worn 
by the Dominican friars and choristers; their ears were 
pierced and the hair of their head was long and stuck 
together with coagulated blood." 

This scene of human sacrifice and cannibalism, pre- 
sided over by the imperial Montezuma, was within a 
few feet of the spot on which Porfirio Diaz has for 
thirty years wrought peace, strength, and progress into 
a nation now honored and trusted everywhere among 
civilized men. It was in that very year that Luther was 
tried at Worms before Charles V, whose helmeted and 
cuirassed adventurers were throwing down the altars, 

20 



OPPRESSED MEXICO 

smashing the idols, and burning the archives and liter- 
ature of ancient Mexico. 

In the year 1493, a ^ ew months after the discovery 
of America by Columbus, all the undiscovered regions 
of the earth were divided by Pope Alexander VI be- 
tween Spain and Portugal. The kings of these two 
countries had quarreled over the new lands across the 
Atlantic and had appealed to the Holy See to settle their 
claims. The Pope drew a line on the map from north 
to south, a hundred leagues west of the Azores, and 
that being a time when it meant death to deny that the 
earth was flat, with people on one side of it only issued 
a bull declaring that all lands discovered east of this 
line should belong to the Portuguese, while all to the 
west of it should belong to the Spaniards. 

It was an age when intense religious feeling was 
mixed up with a general craze for adventure and mili- 
tary glory. Ever since the Crusades all European ex- 
ploring expeditions had gone forth in the name of re- 
ligion. The Pope was the " father of kings " and he 
alone could give a Christian nation title to new countries. 
So the splendid adventurers of Spain drew their swords 
in the name of Christ and the Church, however greed 
for gold and glory might impel them. 

In that spirit Hernan Cortes, who conquered Mexico 
for Spain, was sent out with an armed expedition in 
February, 1519, by Diego de Velazquez, Captain Gen- 
eral of Cuba, to spread Christianity among the inhabit- 
ants of the American mainland, which had previously 
been touched by his nephew, Juan de Grijalva, who 
brought back rumors of marvelous treasures possessed 
by the idol-worshiping heathen. 

When Cortes was named as captain of this never-to- 
be-forgotten adventure he bought at a cost of thousands 

21 



DIAZ, MASTER OF MEXICO 

of dollars a magnificent state robe with a heavy gold 
train and provided a black velvet banner embroidered 
in gold with the royal arms of Spain above a scarlet 
cross surrounded by blue and white flames, and bear- 
ing the words in Latin, " Friends, let us follow the cross, 
and under this sign, if we have faith, we shall con- 
quer." Then to the sound of drums and trumpets, he 
announced that all who joined him in the conquest should 
have a share in the lands, gold, silver, and jewels they 
might win in the new countries. He raised a force 
of between five and six hundred fighting men in armor, 
including musketeers and crossbowmen, sixteen horses, 
and some artillery. 

There is scarcely anything in history comparable to 
the story of the bloody conquest of Mexico by Cortes. 
When he reached the site of the present city of Vera 
Cruz he resigned the commission of Velazquez and had 
his followers elect him captain general and chief justice; 
thereafter, having first destroyed his ships, he advanced 
upon Montezuma's empire, sword in hand and with the 
name of Christ and of the Church ever upon his lips. 
The flash and thunder of his cannon, the sight of his 
horses animals never before seen by the natives the 
fearful fighting power of his men, the grandeur of his 
pretensions, convinced many of the superstitious inhabit- 
ants that Cortes had appeared among them in fulfillment 
of an ancient prophecy made by a white god-man, Quet- 
zalcohuatl, who had once ruled over them. Montezuma 
sent ambassadors to him, who presented gold and silver 
plates as large as wagon wheels, a casque filled with pure 
grains of gold; thirty gold ducks; gold wrought into 
forms of lions, tigers, dogs, and apes; ten gold chains 
with lockets; a gold bow and twelve gold arrows; and 
all manner of marvelously worked ornaments and gar- 

22 



OPPRESSED MEXICO 

ments ; and, in the name of their sovereign, they begged 
the Spaniards not to approach him. Again and again 
did the Aztec emperor send processions of men loaded 
with presents to be laid at Cortes's feet. The haughty 
conquistador replied that he came in the name of the 
greatest monarch in the world and that his mission was 
to put an end to human sacrifice and the worship of 
idols and to make known the Christian religion. 

He fought a great battle with the Tlaxcalans Bernal 
Diaz insists that Cortes with 400 men defeated 50,000 
of the enemy under Xicotencatl, the Tlaxcalan general in 
chief and then persuaded the vanquished people to be- 
come his allies against Montezuma and his Aztecs. A 
few days later some of Cortes's men ascended the mighty 
dead volcano Popocatepetl and were lowered into the 
crater to get sulphur for their cannon powder. Then the 
conquistadores marched on to Cholula nothing now re- 
mains of that splendid city of temples and towers but a 
grass-grown pyramid and a few almost formless ruins 
where, on a rumor that the outwardly friendly Cholulans 
intended treachery, he gathered their nobles, priests, and 
warriors together and, at an agreed signal, he and his 
steel-clad soldiers massacred 6,000 of them. 

Again and again Cortes overturned the idols and 
gory altars of the natives and in their places set up 
images of the Virgin; yet he sent word to Montezuma 
that he and his men were suffering from " a disease of 
the heart that is cured by gold." And Montezuma, in 
the hope of inducing the invaders to depart from his 
country, continued to send embassies with gold, not 
realizing that he was inflaming a passion that meant his 
own destruction. 

After the slaughter of the Cholulans, Montezuma, 
appareled in almost indescribable grandeur, the very 
3 23 



DIAZ, MASTER OF MEXICO 

soles of his boots being of solid gold, received Cortes 
in Tenochtitlan, the present City of Mexico. The Aztec 
monarch announced that he would no longer resist the 
will of the gods and would become a vassal of the great 
emperor represented by Cortes. 

The Spaniards then persuaded Montezuma to aban- 
don his palace and live in their quarters, and thereupon 
they made him a prisoner. The sight of their weak 
and amiable monarch in the hands of the invaders, the 
insults offered to their temples and gods by the Span- 
iards, and the massacre of a great multitude during a 
religious festival, caused the Aztecs to rise against their 
oppressors. And when Montezuma appealed to his peo- 
ple to respect the strangers, they showered him with 
missiles and killed him. The leadership then fell upon 
his nephew, the heroic Cuauhtemoc, who drove Cortes 
and his men out of the city. After a campaign of con- 
tinuous fighting for many months Cortes conquered the 
capital. He took Cuauhtemoc, the last of the Aztec em- 
perors, prisoner, roasted his feet over a fire in the hope 
of securing hidden treasures, and then ignominiously 
hanged him. The Mexican nation, under President Diaz, 
has erected a great monument to the noble Cuauhtemoc, 
and the name of Cortes is so execrated in the republic 
to-day that even the resting place of his ashes is not 
known. 

The whole world knows the story of how the peoples 
of Mexico were trodden under the armed feet of Spain. 
Then followed the Christianization of the heathen by 
the Spanish monks. It is said that a single monk 
baptized 5,000 Mexicans in one day. In a few years 
more than 4,000,000 were baptized. The effect of 
this wholesale baptism of a people uninstructed in the 
essentials of Christianity was indicated by Alexander 

24 



OPPRESSED MEXICO 

von Humboldt when he wrote that the introduction of 
the Christian religion into Mexico " had no other effect 
upon the Mexicans than to substitute new ceremonies 
and symbols for the rites of a sanguinary worship." 
" Dogma has not succeeded dogma, but only ceremony 
to ceremony," he declared. " I have seen them, marked 
and adorned with tinkling bells, perform savage dances 
around the altar while a monk of St. Francis elevated 
the Host." 

It serves no necessary purpose here to repeat the 
story of Spanish domination over the helpless masses 
of America. It is enough to know that each colony, as 
soon as it was strong enough, rose against the Span- 
iards and drove them out, until to-day the Spanish flag 
flies nowhere in the Western hemisphere. 

Spain extinguished the ancient civilization of the 
Mexicans and destroyed their literature and monuments, 
and in a great horror of darkness the subjugated Indians 
a population of possibly 30,000,000, with many fine 
cities sank under the rule of their conquerors. It 
is true that they were accustomed to human sacrifice, 
cannibalism, and slavery; but at least their government 
was their own. Now they were ruled by foreigners bent 
upon ravishing the country of its wealth. 

In the long stretch of government represented by 
170 Spanish viceroys and 610 captains general and gov- 
ernors, practically all Mexicans were shut out of the 
government. Yet in that time more than $10,000,000,- 
ooo worth of gold, silver, and other metals was carried 
to Spain from Mexican mines, the King's share, one 
fifth, averaging about $34,000,000 a year for practically 
three centuries, to say nothing of the immense mineral 
wealth smuggled into Spain without record. 

No wonder that a Spanish muleteer in Mexico who 
25 



DIAZ, MASTER OF MEXICO 

became rich enqugh to lend the King a million pesos 
was then created Count de Regla ; that when his son was 
christened " the whole party walked from his home to 
the church upon ingots of silver " ; and that " the Count 
invited the King of Spain to visit his Mexican territories, 
assuring him that the hoofs of His Majesty's horse 
should touch nothing but solid silver from Vera Cruz to 
the capital." 

Everything was sacrificed to the fierce Spanish 
search for silver and gold. Industry and agriculture 
were neglected. The Mexicans were practically serfs, 
and, under the Courts of Royal Audience established by 
the mighty Council of the Indies, all judges and court 
officers were native-born Spaniards, legally incapable of 
marrying or holding lands in the colonies. Mexicans 
were forbidden to hold office. Intercourse with for- 
eigners was strictly prohibited. No Mexican pretended 
to know the laws imposed by the oppressors. The peo- 
ple had no part in the government, which was simply 
organized spoliation. All commerce between Mexico 
and the rest of the world, save Spain alone, was pro- 
hibited. Nothing could be imported in any but Spanish 
ships. The Mexicans were not allowed to produce any- 
thing which might be bought from Spain, in order that 
the Spaniards might have a complete commercial monop- 
oly. Wine-growing and silk culture were sternly re- 
pressed. The penalty for trading with foreign countries 
was death. Enormous taxes were laid upon foods and 
other necessaries of the masses. Innumerable fueros, 
or legal privileges, set up galling and degrading dis- 
tinctions between Spaniards and natives. Neither sol- 
diers nor ecclesiastics were subject to the civil courts. 
The whole machinery of the government, political, judi- 
cial, and administrative, was in the hands of foreigners 

26 



OPPRESSED MEXICO 

for about three hundred years, and even the sacraments 
and other religious offices, so dear to the souls of a 
naturally theocratic people, yielded an immense revenue 
to the Spanish crown. 

In spite of many apparently admirable qualities in 
the Laws of the Indies, the truth is that the Mexicans 
were ruled as a conquered people, and the iron policy of 
Spain was voiced in the latter part of the eighteenth 
century by one of the Spanish viceroys, the Marquis de 
Croix, who uttered the following in a proclamation : 

" Let the people of these dominions learn once for 
all that they were born to be silent and to obey, and not 
to discuss nor to have opinions in political affairs." 

There was peace in Mexico, but it was the peace of 
slavery. Magnificent cathedrals and churches and vast 
convents were built, and the Church, more resplendent 
and powerful here than elsewhere in the world, acquired 
a monstrous wealth. It owned estates as large as prin- 
cipalities. Its tithes brought in an imperial revenue. 
Its gorgeous altars and its overflowing treasuries were 
the wonder of all travelers. It had perhaps $200,- 
000,000 to lend. It was the one supreme money- 
lender, for there were no banks. Its title deeds and 
its mortgages covered something like a third of the 
whole property of Mexico. The dread Inquisition added 
a grander emphasis to the true faith by burning here- 
tics, and while the aboriginals were virtually exempt 
from this process of salvation, they were terrified into an 
even more unreasoning submission. 

The bewildered Indians of Mexico seemed to lose 
all power of resistance, all initiative, all hope. Yet they 
were the great body of the people. They bowed to the 
yoke of Spain in a sort of gentle despair. They knelt 

27 



DIAZ, MASTER OF MEXICO 

before Christian, altars, but the root of Christianity was 
not in them nor their surroundings; they were still pa- 
gans uttering idolatry in a new dialect. The power of 
the government, the jeweled grandeur of the Spanish 
Church, smote their imaginations flat. They had no 
background, for the Spaniards had burned all records 
of their history. They seemed to have no future, for 
their conquerors were growing richer, while they them- 
selves could not grow any poorer; yet as the genera- 
tions passed, their bodies dwindled, and before the end 
of the period of Spanish domination the probably 
30,000,000 of Indians had shrunk to something like 
6,000,000. 

But while the Virgin of Remedios, the sacred image 
carried to Mexico by Cortes and his conquistador es } had 
" three petticoats : one embroidered with pearls, another 
with emeralds, and a third with diamonds, the value of 
which is said to be not less than three millions of dol- 
lars"- if this represented the approach to God through 
the Spanish Church, there was the Virgin of Guadalupe 
who had appeared to Juan Diego, the poor, unlettered 
Indian, on a little hill near the capital in 1531, and there, 
in a jeweled altar, hung his blanket with the Virgin's 
image miraculously imprinted upon it, in a church that 
even Zumarraga, the great Archbishop of Mexico, who 
made a public bonfire of all the Aztec literature he could 
find, erected on the hill of Guadalupe in acknowledgment 
that Heaven had revealed itself even to a penniless Mexi- 
can Indian without the intervention of a Spanish priest. 

When Napoleon placed his brother on the throne of 
Spain and the Spaniards revolted against the new mon- 
arch, there was a general feeling in Mexico that the 
sovereignty of the colony had reverted to its own people 
and, thrilling with the political influences radiated from 

28 



OPPRESSED MEXICO 

the American and French revolutions, the Mexican peo- 
ple proclaimed a war of independence in 1810 under the 
leadership of the white-haired, stoop-shouldered, schol- 
arly priest Hidalgo, who, when he found that the plan 
to rise against the government was discovered, rang the 
bell of his parish church in the night, gathered his people 
about him, proclaimed the independence of his country, 
and with a patriotic rabble, many armed with pitchforks, 
began the war for liberty, marching at the head of the 
insurgents with a banner bearing the image of the Virgin 
of Guadalupe. Under the leadership of President Diaz 
the Mexican nation has grandly celebrated the centennial 
anniversary of that event. 

Hidalgo captured the city of Celaya and then the 
rich mining town of Guanajuato, where his army in- 
creased to 20,000 men. The insurgents also took Val- 
ladolid and scattered an army of 3,000 men, with artil- 
lery, at Monte de las Cruces, near the capital. But, alas ! 
the noble warrior-priest was defeated at the bridge of 
Calderon and was afterwards captured and pitilessly 
executed. 

His death, however, did not end the Mexican strug- 
gle for independence. The war was pressed by patriots 
like Vincente Guerrero, Nicolas Bravo, and Jose Maria 
Morelos. 

Morelos, the real successor of Hidalgo, was also a 
priest. No purer patriot, no braver soldier ever lived. 
He led the untrained, half-starved, and ignorant Indians 
with a skill and intelligence that won the admiration of 
even the great Wellington himself. Morelos also was 
captured, tried before the Inquisition, and shot in 1815 
by order of a court martial. 

Mexico began her career as an independent nation 
in 1821 when Agustin de Iturbide, the Mexican-born 

29 



DIAZ, MASTER OF MEXICO 

commander of the royal troops operating against Guer- 
rero and his Mexican insurgents, suddenly joined the 
enemy and proclaimed the independence of the country. 
A year later Iturbide had himself crowned Emperor of 
the Mexican Empire in the Cathedral of Mexico. A few 
months later General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna, 
one of the most amazing figures in Mexican history, 
headed a revolution against the Emperor. Guerrero and 
Bravo also took up arms against him. No " Serene 
Highness " could reign over a people who could face the 
veteran troops of Spain. He had become leader of the 
revolution against Spain under a programme which in- 
cluded the " three guarantees " symbolized by the 
white, red, and green of the Mexican flag the main- 
tenance of the Roman Catholic Church, the independence 
of Mexico as a limited monarchy under a Spanish 
prince, and the union of Spaniards and Mexicans. In- 
stead of this he had set up a preposterous empire, had 
imprisoned members of Congress who opposed his bom- 
bastic pretensions, had established himself in a magnifi- 
cent palace, and had founded an order of nobility, to say 
nothing of a salary of $125,000 a year which he paid 
to himself. 

Three months after Santa Anna drew his sword in 
Jalapa, Iturbide resigned his crown and went to Europe. 
Congress afterwards declared him to be a traitor, and 
on his return to his country in disguise in 1824 he was 
arrested and shot. 

The one supreme, sleepless idea of the Mexican na- 
tion was to adopt a policy and a form as different from 
the Spanish Government as possible. The society which 
now found itself free from foreign rule was a veritable 
Niagara of bloods, of traditions, of ambitions, and of 
passions. It had nothing in common but historical con- 

30 



OPPRESSED MEXICO 

sciousness. The patriot leaders were brave and devoted 
men, but they knew little about the science of govern- 
ment. Nor did they attempt to take into consideration 
the racial characteristics or political capacities of the 
millions of Mexican Indians before deciding upon a form 
of government suited to their necessities and abilities. 

It never seemed to occur to them that a people who 
only three hundred years before were idol-worshiping 
pagans, without a thought or desire for individual lib- 
erty, reigned over by kings and priests, and kneeling 
everywhere before monstrous altars dripping with hu- 
man blood, might not be able to maintain the higher 
programmes of democracy won through a thousand 
years of Anglo-Saxon aspirations. 

The one thing was to be free and to trample under 
foot everything that savored of monarchy and Spain! 
So, in 1824, the Mexican Congress, in a great outburst 
of emotional statesmanship, declared Mexico to be a 
republic and adopted a Constitution modeled after the 
Constitution of the United States. This reaching out for 
civic salvation through the political creeds of sterner and 
steadier peoples was made possible just a year before by 
the historic declaration of the United States through 
President Monroe that neither the Holy Alliance nor all 
Europe together would be permitted to disturb the inde- 
pendence of new-born American nations. 



CHAPTER III 

BIRTH AND BOYHOOD OF DIAZ 

WHEN Porfirio Diaz was born, in 1830, Mexico had 
been a republic for six years, Spain had made another 
vain and foolish attempt to reconquer the country, and 
two armed revolutions had already foreshadowed the 
prolonged and indescribable national tragedy of succes- 
sive plots, uprisings, dictatorships, general lawlessness, 
brigandage, murder, bankruptcy, and civil war which 
utterly wrecked the weakened and demoralized victims 
of three hundred years of Spanish greed and tyranny. 

The man who was to become a nation-maker and the 
most masterful and interesting figure of his age came 
into the world in a poor little inn in the old and pictur- 
esque city of Oaxaca, near the rough mountains where 
Benito Juarez was born. 

Such an extraordinary character must be examined 
through ancestry as well as environment, for although 
circumstances and opportunity, combined with necessity 
or ambition, may account for much in a great leader of 
men, the mysterious forces of the will must have been 
latent in the blood from which they were summoned to 
action. 

The thin, little, coatless boy in a donkey-skin cap 
who used to go from the poor home, where his mother 
and sisters slaved from dawn until far into the night, 
to gaze in almost speechless wonder at an image of the 

32 



BIRTH AND BOYHOOD OF DIAZ 

Virgin arrayed in $2,000,000 worth of emeralds, rubies, 
pearls, and diamonds in a church across the street, 
afterwards showed in thirty years as a fighting sol- 
dier, and thirty-four years more as a peace-compelling 
constructive statesman, so much power, wisdom, and 
vision, that, as he emerged into unshakable command 
out of the chaos of Mexican history, the world began 
to consider the hereditary origin of such rare and heroic 
qualities. 

The time came when that humble lad, grown to be 
a commander of troops, captured his natiye__city. from 
the forces _of the armed church and seized the marvelous 
altar Jewels^ that had dazzled his childish eyes; not to 
despoil a house of worship, but to compel a moderate 
ransom for the sake of his worn and hungry republican 
soldiers. It is the conscious purpose shining all through 
his life and the steady persistence of his effort, in the 
face of constant privation and peril, that lends such 
an interest to the fact that he is paj-^J^ndian^ncLpart 
white |_inan.__ 

His father, Jose de la Cruz Diaz, was of full Spanish 
blood, and descended from an Andalusian immigrant 
of the sixteenth century, probably one of the original 
settlers of the city of Oaxaca. His mother was the child 
of Mariano Mori, of pure white Andalusian strain, who 
married Maria Tecla Cortes, an Indian girl of the Mix- 
teco race, from the ancient fighting village of Yodocono, 
in the Oaxaca mountains, where her dusky mother 
owned good lands and herds. The Mixteco Indians, 
w r ho are to-day a *' run-down " people, living in a very 
small territory, have, nevertheless, legends of terrible 
days when they tore the heads from their enemies, the 
Zapotecs, and exhibited their mutilated bodies on the 
backs of donkeys. The arms of Oaxaca, the venerable 

33 



DIAZ, MASTER OF MEXICO 

Zapotec capital, bear the gory head of a beautiful Mix- 
teco princess of old, which was cut from her body because 
she preferred to die rather than to reveal the secrets of 
her people. 

So that Porfirio Diaz is one quarter Indian and three 
quarters white. 

The father of the future master of Mexico N was a 
short, thick-set, muscular man, clear-headed, alert, and 
of great endurance. As a young man he was a miner, 
and at the head of an armed escort Jieliised to take don- 
key trains of silver into the city of Oaxaca from the_ 
reduction works owned by the cathedral chapter of Oax- 
aca in the Ixtlan district of the Zapotec mountains. He 
afterwards became a farmer and a farrief'a^d was also 
something of a veterinary surgeon. The progenitor of 
Mexico's greatest soldier and statesman grew sugar cane 
for a while near the Pacific Coast. All the rent he had 
to pay was a few pounds of wax for candles to be burned 
on the feast day of the patron saint of the village which 
owned the land. He was a curious mixture of a man. 
He started a small store in a village, put up a sugar mill 
with his own hands, learned the trade of a tanner, and, 
having been a farrier for a regiment of cavalry, he had 
concealed General Guerrero in his house and the fugi- 
tive patriot had gratefully commissioned him as a cap- 
tain. His wife always addressed him by that military 
title. 

This deep-chested, adventurous, and resourceful man 
was a strange blending of two characters. In spite of 
his prodigious zeal for work and his hard-headed way 
of delving a living out of difficult situations, there was a 
strong mystic strain in him. He was an intense Catho- 
lic and was much given to praying, So deeply was he 
immersed in religion that he would often wear the brown 

34 



BIRTH AND BOYHOOD OF DIAZ 

habit, with its cowl and girdle, of the tertiary order of 
St. Francis, a privilege of laymen. 

In the end he found -sugar cultivation unprofitable 
and went to the city of Oaxaca, where he rented a one- 
story house and established an inn, known as the Meson 
de la Soledad, with a horseshoeing shop, a veterinary 
hospital, and a stable. The inn was practically an eating 
place for teamsters and small shopkeepers. 

Here, on September 15, 1830 or rather on Septem- 
ber 1 4th, for his day of baptism has always been mis- 
taken for his birthday was born the child who was to 
revolutionize Mexico and become the modern hero of the 
Americas. Whereat his Spanish-Mixteco mother bowed 
her dusky face and straight black Indian hair for hours 
before the statue of the Virgin and the tapers twinkling 
about it in her bedroom, and the strong-limbed, heavy- 
shouldered father wore the Franciscan gown and girdle 
and prayed more fervently than ever, while many 
bronzed muleteers, in red blankets, mighty sombreros, 
and sandals, trooped into the queer old inn to see the 
new infant; and occasionally a monk stopped^at the door 
to make inquiries, for the rqaji^cCTd^s^^^f a then, was the 
priest Jose Agustin Dominguez, yet to be a bishop. 

When young Porfirio was three years old his father 
diecL __ai jdiolera, and the poor little mother with her 
youngest son, Felix, still at the breast, and three grow- 
ing daughters to support, heroically maintained the inn 
for four years more and then gave up the struggle, going 
to live in a smaller house which she owned in a part of 
the city occupied by tanners, where she and her daugh- 
ters spun with distaff and wove rebosos, or shawls, and 
even sold breadfruit from a tree in their patio to eke 
out a living. This resolute half-Indian mother, who in 
her childhood scarcely knew how to read, had learned 

35 



DIAZ, MASTER OF MEXICO 

enough to teach % a number of small children sent to her 
by families, and she also had a school for infants, charg- 
ing six cents a week for each child. 

The old inn in which Porfirio was born stood oppo- 
site to the great convent and church of La Soledad, 
which remains to this day a witness to the ancient 
grandeur of Rome in Mexico. It was a day when eccle- 
siastical power staggered the imagination. All things 
political and social bowed before its magnificence, its 
strength, and its wealth. From the stately capital, where 
Spain and Christianity had torn down Montezuma's 
temples and in their place had set up cathedrals and 
churches gorgeous and beautiful beyond anything even 
in Spain itself ; from this citadel of Church power, where 
the archbishops had been viceroys and had had the Span- 
ish flag laid on the ground at the cathedral door that 
they might walk over it, to the farthest point of Cali- 
fornia or Yucatan, and from ocean to ocean, everywhere 
the priest and the bishop, the monk and the superior, 
were both the keepers of the way to heaven and con- 
trollers of the secret springs of politics and government ; 
gave absolute direction to organized society, and had 
such colossal wealth in their hands that they not only 
overwhelmed all by the splendor and dazzle of their 
altars, the majesty of their buildings, the glory of their 
vestments, the almost incredible jewels of their treas- 
uries, but they controlled the money markets and the 
rates of interest, so that the prices of the harvests and 
the rents for lands and houses were almost as much in 
the hands of the Church as the enormous fees charged 
for baptisms, marriages, and burials. 

Religious processions were constant in cities, towns, 
and villages, and the people knelt in the streets as carved 
wooden figures, representing the bruised and bloody 

36 



BIRTH AND BOYHOOD OF DIAZ 

Christ and the always lovely Virgin, were borne about in 
public. It was not uncommon to see the Indians go 
to their knees at sight of a priest anywhere. In every 
house was an altar of some sort. The humblest peon's 
sun-dried clay hut had its crucifix, Virgin, and always 
lighted candle. 

Through the mists of far-off years it is hard to recog- 
nize the man who bent history under the strength of his 
will in the fatherless boy, with great melancholy eyes, 
flat chest, and frail limbs, who used to go on feast days 
with his hard-pressed, brave, little half-breed mother out 
of the dingy, dish-cluttered inn into the vast, cool space 
of the church of La Soledad and kneel with the monks 
and the nuns and blanketed Indians before the great 
altar, gleaming with gold and sparkling with lighted 
candles, where the splendid Virgin stood above the 
chanting priests, glittering and blazing with emeralds, 
rubies, and diamonds, with tens of thousands of pearls 
upon her velvet robe the most beautiful, the most 
awful, the most stupendous sight a Mexican boy might 
see, richer than anything else on earth, the center and 
summit of mystery and glory. 

Already Mexico was entering the throes of that 
monstrous stretch of civil wars in which Santa Anna, 
conqueror of the preposterous Mexican Emperor Itur- 
bide, was alternately president and dictator, intriguer, 
fighter, martyr, buffoon, and traitor. Already the vast 
power of the Church had almost automatically taken 
sides in the confusing and ever-changing conflict which 
was presently to engulf the nation in a general conflagra- 
tion, in whose flame and smoke the old order would pass 
away. 

Lf Qrtune, to whom the 



powers and responsibilities of government were as 

37 



DIAZ, MASTER OF MEXICO 

painted scenery in a show. He played, with the destinies 
of Mexico as he afterwards played with his own honor. 
Sword in hand he seized the presidency, turned it over 
to another, retook the office, abandoned it to still an- 
other, only to reconquer it; now breathing defiance to 
kingcraft and aristocracy, now strutting about as a 
dictator with the title of " Serene Highness " tall, 
brilliant-eyed, high-browed, courtly, handsome, brave, 
charming, dashing, treacherous. There were angels, 
devils, and men chained together in his adventurous soul. 
From the day that he crushed the first Mexican empire 
to the time when he secretly offered to sell a part of his 
country to the United States in order to regain power in 
Mexico, he was always a marplot. Never was there a 
more fantastic combination of hero and humbug. 

In 1838 there was "the war of the pies." France 
sent an expedition under the Prince de Joinville to attack 
Vera Cruz because Mexico refused to pay some ridicu- 
lous French claims, including those of a pastry cook who 
asked for $60,000. In this attack a French cannon ball 
carried away one of Santa Anna's legs. Thereupon he 
had the limb buried with great pomp in one of the 
principal churches of Mexico City; but when one of 
the frequent revolutions again drove him out of power, 
the mob which had almost yesterday cried hosannas, 
broke into the church, tore Santa Anna's leg from its 
stately resting place, and, tying a rope to it, dragged 
it through the streets, hooting and jeering. 

With Santa Anna's permission, Gomez Farias had 
become President of Mexico and had stirred up a revolu- 
tion, backed by the Church, by promoting laws which 
forbade the civil authorities from enforcing the collec- 
tion of church tithes or compelling the fulfillment of 
monastic vows, and prohibiting ecclesiastics from inter- 

38 



BIRTH AND BOYHOOD OF DIAZ 

fering in public instruction, which brought the univer- 
sity to an end. This was the origin of the Conserva- 
tiye, or Clerical, party, whose struggle with the LibeTals 
swept the country into thirty-four years of internecine 
conflicts, almost inexpressible in their cruelties and 
treacheries. 

Texas, settled by American colonists, had revolted 
against the sovereignty of Mexico, and even Santa Anna 
failed to crush the new republic, which was in time to 
become a part of the United States. 

General Anastasio Bustamente was elected President 
in 1837 under a new Constitution. There was a revolu- 
tion against him in 1839, which was suppressed by Santa 
Anna. Presently there was another revolution against 
Bustamente, who was seized in the national palace and 
held prisoner there, while the streets of the capital daily 
resounded with the noise of the fighting factions. 

Then there was a sudden outcry from the Clericals, 
voiced by a brilliant senator named Gutierrez Estrada, 
to the effect that democratic institutions could produce 
only anarchy and weakness in the Mexican nation, that 
the great body of the people were absolutely incapable of 
functioning properly in a real republic, that their his- 
tory, traditions, and racial characteristics proved that 
monarchy was the only form of government suited to 
them, and that the sole way out of the bloody discord 
and demoralization which had brought chaos upon the 
country was to be found in the choice of a king. 

This stirred Mexico from frontier to frontier and 
there was another rush of revolutionary movements. 
Santa Anna, turning his arms against President Busta- 
mente, became dictator. 

While revehrtroTt after revolution impoverished the 
country and confounded the masses of theTpeople, far 
4 39 



DIAZ, MASTER OF MEXICO 

beneath the grotesque and sometimes ridiculous surface 
of things the raw forces of the republic and the forces 
of the rich and politically masterful Church were gather- 
ing for the frightful life-and-death struggle which deso- 
lated Mexico for so many years. It was not an issue of 
je.ligjnn, for all were Catholics ; buFlfie" monastic offers 
had grown so rich, had such immense territories, owned 
and loaned so much money, and had such a grave interest 
not only in taxation but in all questions of politics, that 
its leaders saw nothing but ruin and approaching con- 
fiscation in a government actually ruled by the ignorant 
Indians and their radical leaders. 

After all, the monks had got their power, prestige, 
and wealth through three centuries of Spanish mon- 
archy, and it was not until the idea of self-government 
had taken possession of the Mexican mind that the obe- 
dient, uncritical, and politically voiceless population had 
dared to question historical results, vested rights, or 
established institutions. 

From the introduction of freemasonry by Mr. Poin- 
sett, the first American Minister to independent Mexico, 
there had gradually grown secret centers and leaderships, 
in which the native unrest, the native ambition, and the 
native sense that foreign influence deprived the Mexican 
of conditions of equal opportunity in his own country, 
were more or less definitely organized. The Spanish 
flag had been driven out of Mexico, but the great mo- 
nastic orders, nourished into governmental strength and 
aristocratic rank by Spain, remained, apparently a bar- 
rier to the vague and high-flown hopes of a democracy 
with more passion than wisdom and more theory than 
experience. 

Besides, the monks had become gross and lax. There 
were here and there noble exceptions, as there were also 

40 



BIRTH AND BOYHOOD OF DIAZ 

in the centuries of the Spanish viceroys, but it is un- 
deniable that the name of the Church was brought into 
contempt and ridicule by open monkish drunkenness, 
gluttony, and lewdness. In vain did the Pope attempt 
to investigate, reform, or punish these corruptions and 
bestialities, which offered such a fearful contrast to the 
teachings of the Church; but the great monastic orders 
had become too powerful for discipline and too worldly 
for reform. Behind them were massed the old Spanish 
elements, hoping for a return of monarchy ; the moneyed 
and land-owning interests, fearing the power of an igno- 
rant, penniless, and politically incompetent majority of 
the people, and all the ecclesiastical, financial, and mo- 
narchical influences of Europe; for it was commonly be- 
lieved abroad that with the Spanish power removed from 
the control of Mexico, nothing dependable remained but 
the authority of the Church, however oppressive and im- 
moral that power might have become through the long- 
continued accumulation of wealth and political influence 
by the Dominicans, Franciscans, Augustinians, and their 
allies in and out of the Church. 

The regular bishops and priests were helpless in the 
presence of this mighty monastic monopoly, although 
the salaries of the twelve bishops amounted together 
to the enormous sum of $539,000 a year, the Arch- 
bishop of Mexico alone having a salary of $130,000, the 
Bishop of Puebla, $110,000, and the Bishop of Valla- 
dolid, $110,000. 

The extraordinary, almost unbelievable, position of 
the Mexicans among the peoples of the world may be 
faintly appreciated when it is understood that the prop- 
erties of the Church amounted in value in 1833 from 
$179,000,000, with an annual income of $7,500,000, 
according to Mora Von Humboldt estimated these 



DIAZ, MASTER OF MEXICO 

properties as four fifths, and Lucas Alaman as one half, 
the landed estate of the nation to Miguel Lerdo de 
Tejada's estimate of from $250,000,000 to $300,000,- 
ooo. Yet so absolute was the neglect of agriculture and 
industry in this vast and fertile country, and so wholly 
was the national mind given over to war, politics, ecclesi- 
asticism, and the old Spanish search for silver and gold, 
that the total exports of the nation in 1828 amounted to 
only $14,488,786, of which $12,387,288 was gold and 
silver, leaving a total of other exports of only $2,101,- 
518. And this astounding condition continued for years, 
while the alcabalas, or internal custom houses, on all the 
state frontiers, made it practically impossible to go out- 
side of local markets in agriculture ; so that one part of 
the country might be overwhelmed with rich harvests 
and another part almost starving. 

In that time of Porfirio Diaz's early childhood the 
Mexican Indians, who theoretically held the sovereignty 
of the country, had, in fact, no more to say in public 
matters than in the days of Spanish domination. The 
nimble and protean Santa Anna could at least fight, and 
when he appeared in the field there was always an army 
to follow him ; his sword was turned against the Liberals 
in defense of church property and church privilege. 
Mexico had even in that period of general poverty an 
army of 40,000 men, costing about $8,000,000 a year. 
The Indian either cowered at the feet of the monk or 
he desperately took arms against conservative authority 
of any kind. There was no intermediate ground for him 
between servile submission and bloodshed. This was 
the threshold of a war in which the Church would have 
to raise and support armies in the field. 



CHAPTER IV 

DIAZ TURNS FROM THE PRIESTHOOD TO THE LAW 

LITTLE Porfirio Diaz was to be a priest. At least 
so his heroic half-Indian mother and his grave, square- 
jawed gqdfather^thepriest 13omjngue^ would have it. 
At seven years he earned his first money as an altar boy 
in the Church of Santa Catarina. His first teacher in 
the primary school was a priest. A few years later he 
went to live and study with a cousin, the priest Ramon 
Pardo. Here he met a small companion named Justo 
Benitez, whose parentage was uncertain, but who was 
to powerfully influence his life. 

Porfirio was a strange boy. There was an aloofness 
in his bearing, a quiet brooding, that approached melan- 
choly. He was proud, reticent, and retiring, yet when 
aroused to action he had an imperious way and desperate 
energy. He was very thin, but strong, quick, and supple. 
His eyes were quite extraordinary. They were very 
large and of a rich blackness. When he was stirred they 
would dilate and there would come into them a peculiar 
shining intensity, which, with a sudden lift and spread 
of his sensitive nostrils, would give to his wide-jawed 
young face an expression, half menace, half command, 
that would startle and sometimes thrill the boy who had 
aroused in him the spirit which afterwards made itself 
felt on more th?.n fifty battlefields. 

In spite of his odd silence there was something in the 

43 



DIAZ, MASTER OF MEXICO 

pale, fatherless lad in cotton shirt and trousers, sandals, 
and round hat " woven of hair from a donkey's belly " 
a passion for athletics, a disposition for command, to 
which his comrades naturally yielded which might have 
warned his churchly guides that there was no priest to 
be made out of that fateful blending of Indian and Span- 
ish bloods. 

Already in boyhood the powerful Iberian strain of 
his ancestry had taken hold of the Mixteco inheritance 
in his veins ; and in the hour when old Oaxaca, " the Vir- 
ginia of Mexico," was being riven by the issue that 
divided the whole country into Clericals and Liberals, 
young Porfirio showed the attitude to life which he has 
maintained even to his eightieth year. 

The key to his character as a boy was that he de- 
pended on himself. He wanted a gun to hunt in the 
mountains. Straightway he took the rusty barrel of a 
musket and the castaway lock of a pistol, and, carving a 
stout wooden stock with his own hands, he fashioned 
a weapon which served him well He made such a good 
gun that presently he made others and sold them to the 
mountain Indians. His mother complained that she 
could not afford to have him wear out his shoes in hunt- 
ing. He at once studied a shoemaker at work, borrowed 
some tools, and turned out shoes, not only for himself, 
but for the rest of the family. So, too, he observed the 
craft of a neighboring cabinetmaker and in a few days 
began to make furniture for his mother's house. 

When he wanted anything in those days he did not 
pray for it, but made it with his own strength, intelli- 
gence, and courage, as he afterwards made Mexico. 

The ghostly influences of Mother Church were press- 
ing, him toward the priesthood, and his dusky little 
mother knelt daily before the Virgin, her thin bosom 

44 



FROM PRIESTHOOD TO LAW 

heaving with the hope that her son might achieve that 
black-robed " gentleman's profession " ; but even when 
he entered the pontifical seminary of Oaxaca, and the 
boys of that institution divided for play fights into Cleri- 
cals and Liberals, Porfirio always led the Liberals, while 
his brother Felix always led the Clericals. 

These school fights, which were sometimes carried on 
with stones, and had bloody results, simply represented 
the struggle in Mexican society at large. It was strangely 
prophetic that the Diaz brothers should, as schoolboys, 
have fought against each other, just as afterwards, with 
arms in their hands, they took opposite sides, with the 
same war cries on their lips ; although the day came when 
they fought side by side under the flag of the republic, 
never to be divided again except by death. 

When about thirteen years old Porfirio used to spend 
his afternoons studying physics in an empty cell of the 
great monastery of Santo Domingo, whose church was 
the architectural wonder of Oaxaca. Here he saw much 
of the extravagance and profligacy of the monks, noticed 
the women brought into the monastery, and had his 
youthful eyes opened to evidences of looseness and de- 
pravity that even the authority of Rome had failed to 
check. 

Looking back in his old age to those desperate days, 
President Diaz has confessed that even such things made 
little impression upon his childish mind, although they 
formed a powerful and unforgetable retrospect after- 
wards when his political sense of right and wrong began 
to develop and clarify under the influence of a famous 
French writer on public law. 

Little did the riotous monks of Santa Domingo 
dream that the slight, silent boy poring so patiently over 
his books in a narrow stone cell would one day use that 

45 



DIAZ, MASTER OF MEXICO 

monastery as a fortress, and that even an emperor would 
sue in vain for the support of his sword against the lib- 
erties of his country. 

What a worker he was ! At the age of fifteen he was 
dressed in trousers and jacket of tan-colored cotton drill, 
a small brown woolen hat and buckskin shoes, a mere 
slip of a boy ; yet, in addition to his studies at the seminary 
and his work as an amateur gunsmith, shoemaker, and 
carpenter, he earned a little money teaching Latin to 
other boys at the rate of $2 a month, and finally he asked 
the merchant Joaquin Vasconcelos to employ him as 
a clerk. 

It was then that the struggle for the soul of Porfirio 
Diaz began a struggle between theology and public law, 
which in the end unsheathed a sword that transformed 
anarchy into order. 

One of his Latin pupils was the son of Marcos Perez, 
a tall, lank Indian lawyer, with piercing eyes and hollow 
cheeks, who was a professor of law at the state Institute 
of Arts and Sciences. This institution was a hotbed of 
Liberalism. It had developed implacable anticlericals like 
Benito Juarez, the great Indian lawyer and patriot, who 
had been one of its directors, and was now governor of 
the state of Oaxaca. Santa Anna, the dictator, hated 
this breeder of lawyers, whom, as a class, he had learned 
to fear, and did everything possible to harass and 
destroy it. 

One evening Marcos PerQz invited Porfirio to go to 
the Institute to see the prizes distributed by Governor 
Juarez. This was at the very time when the boy's god- 
father, the priest Dominguez, had set before him the 
ponderous leather volume of St. Thomas Aquinas's 
" Sutnma Theologige," which, as a preparation for the 
priesthood, was to teach him that revelation is a more 




BENITO JUAREZ. 



FROM PRIESTHOOD TO LAW 

trustworthy source of knowledge than observation and 
reason. 

Porfirio put on his Sunday clothes and went to the 
house of Perez to accompany him to the Institute. There 
he found the tall professor talking to Juarez, the elo- 
quent and unterrified leader whose name was accursed 
everywhere among the Clericals and whose influence 
was detested by Santa Anna and his kind a short, 
thickset Indian, with dark skin, great dignity, and an 
unreadable face. 

When Perez introduced his young friend to the fa- 
mous governor, saying that he hoped the boy would be 
a law student in the Institute in the following year a 
significant remark considering the fact that Porfirio was 
studying for a clerical career Juarez^reached outjmd^ 
shook the little fellow's hand with great heartiness. . This 
made a deep impression upon the young student, for at 
the seminary no boy^w-as- allowed to speak to a professor 
without holding his arms across his body and bowing 
very humbly. Shaking hands with a superior was un- 
thinkable. Yet Porfirio had actually shaken hands with 
the dread Juarez. The greatest of the Zapotecs, the 
noblest of the Liberals, the Constitutional champion in 
whom the native soul of Mexico uttered its defiance and 
looked unblinking into the eyes of monk and soldier 
alike, the goveror of his native state, had smiled upon 
him and spoken to him with a courtesy that thrilled his 
sense of self-respect. 

That was a night of soul tempest for Porfirio. The 
seductively open manner of Juarez, the speeches in the 
Institute, ringing with patriotism and defiant of tyranny, 
stirred his imagination and called loudly to his mas- 
culinity. When he went home he could not sleep. " I 
had an internal struggle the whole of the night," he 

47 



DIAZ, MASTER OF MEXICO 

said afterwards.. In the morning, pale and excited, he 
went to his mother and told her that he had decided not 
to become a priest. At this the brave little widow began 
to cry. Porfirio's godfather, who was now a canon, had 
arranged a scholarship in the seminary and had prom- 
ised to secure a good parish for him when he was or- 
dained. With tears streaming down her face his mother 
explained what he must lose by his decision and de- 
scribed the difficulties she had to face in maintaining the 
family. For three days she wept every time she saw 
him. At last he could bear it no longer. 

" Mother," he said, " I have decided to abandon my 
principles. For your sake I will become a priest." 

But his mother looked into his face and realized what 
it all meant to him, and she refused to allow him to make 
the sacrifice. When his godfather learned that Porfirio 
had given up the ecclesiastical career and had decided to 
study law at the Institute which was to him a sort of 
gateway to hell the stern old priest declared that the 
boy was given over to evil, withdrew all promises of 
help, washed his hands of responsibility for him, de- 
manded back all the books he had given him, and stamped 
the floor in a paroxysm of righteous rage. 

The honest resolution of one man has often had con- 
sequences upon which the history of a nation hinged. 
It is not given to human wisdom to say what might have 
happened to Mexico had Porfirio Diaz choked down his 
new patriotic stirrings in 1849 anc ^ ultimately become a 
priest. No one who has studied his thorough methods, 
his astounding initiative, his iron will and singleness of 
purpose can have any doubt that he would have become 
a great power in the Church and that his genius as a 
strategist and organizer, together with his personaljcouT-^ 
age and intense instinct for fighting, would have given 

48 



FROM PRIESTHOOD TO LAW 

him command in the field ; but whether even such a man 
could have succeeded against the republic in such a cause 
is not likely. 

However, Porfirio was an outcast to his godfather, 
a social, political, and spiritual pervert, one given over 
wholly to perdition. And in the years to come his ven- 
erable godfather, as Bishop Dominguez, refused to see 
the face of the youth who had given up the Church. Not 
even on his deathbed would he receive him, although 
Porfirio, stalwart, bronzed by the sun, and wearing a 
captain's uniform, stood in the next room and, through 
an open door, secretly saw the stern old prelate die. 

So, in the winter of 1849, tne young man whom des- 
tiny was beckoning to the leadership of his country 
of Arts and Sciences., Hehad 



already .studied sehola&tlc~lEeQTQgy^ mqraL 
ItTafuraL^hibsephy, logic, Latin, and literature. In the 
Institute he studied drawing, French, civil law, canon 
law,Jnternational law, and general law. He^spent nearly" 
five years in this school. 

Many who are unfamiliar with the genesis of Mex- 
ico's greatest constructive statesman for his achieve- 
ments outweigh even the noble theories of Juarez have 
been surprised by the knowledge he has displayed in 
dealing with great crises of government, and not a few 
have been puzzled to know how a man who had spent 
practically his whole life in the field as a soldier could 
have found opportunity to gain the knowledge of prin- 
ciples and political philosophy which he brought to the 
tangled and almost hopeless affairs of Mexico even in 
that violent day when the mastership of the country was 
given to him by a triumphant army. The truth is that, 
in addition to his primary instruction, he received nine 
years of ^vigorous academic education a little more than 

49 



DIAZ, MASTER OF MEXICO 

four years in th.e seminary and a little less than five years 
in the Institute. 

President Diaz has said frequently that his first real 
political consciousness came to him when he read a cer- 
tain French text-book on public law in the Institute. It 
was a work flaming with the imaginative democracy 
which inspired the political philosophers who brought 
on the French Revolution. It was a Latin echo of 
Thomas Jefferson. Its essential idea was government 
of the people, for the people, and by the people. It advo- 
cated universal democracy and manhood suffrage as the 
only just, the only sound, the only safe principle of gov- 
ernment. 

There was no hint in this book, which rang so 
strangely upon the character of the young patriot who 
had abandoned the priesthood, that there might be peo- 
ples to whom such a system of government was not 
possible; and there was Juarez in the Institute, as pro- 
fessor of civil law, and Marcos Perez, another professor 
of law, both Zapotec Indians, both men of wide learn- 
ing, both eloquent speakers, and heroes to all Liberal 
Oaxacans and with such a book before him, with such 
native manhood to lead him and inspire him, the twenty- 
year-old-youth was lifted out of and above his little city 
of noisy church bells, sandaled monks, strutting, jingling 
military whiskerandos, and half-fed, haggard Indian 
multitudes in many-colored blankets, and saw only a 
great ideal of human equality and universal suffrage, 
unconscious that the attempt to realize it among a people 
without the self-restraint or self-reliance of democracy 
in them had already brought chaos upon confusion in 
Mexico. 

Before entering the Institute Porfirio made a sturdy 
effort to be a clerk in Sefior Vasconcelos's service, but 

5 



FROM PRIESTHOOD TO LAW 

that honest merchant bade him to continue his studies 
and furnished him with a book of logic and the long 
cloak which the students were required to wear. 

Although he studied law for nearly five years, during 
seventeen months of which he received instruction from 
Juarez, it was not in his nature to throw the whole bur- 
den of his support upon his mother, and he made shift 
to earn money. In 1853 and 1854 he was substitute 
librarian of the institute, dividing the monthly salary of 
$25 with the titular librarian. He also took charge of 
the class of natural law and international law in the 
absence of Prof. Manuel Iturribarria, who had fled 
from the persecutions of Santa Anna, newly returned 
to power. He passed his general examinations in law 
on January 2, 1854, but was not admitted to the bar. 
Yet he entered the law office of Marcos Perez, and 
during much of the period of his attendance in the In- 
stitute he made money by assisting his master in suits, 
being finally appointed attorney of the village of Valle 
^jacional. 

A terrible thing happened in 1854. Santa Anna, the 
dictator, had a few months before attempted to crush 
the Liberals by violence and had thrown Juarez into a 
loathsome submarine cell in the fortress of San Juan 
Uloa, at Vera Cruz. Now the tyrant discovered a 
patriotic plot in which Marcos Perez was implicated, 
and the brave lawyer was thrown into a tower of the 
Santo Domingo convent, and a strong guard of soldiers 
cut off all communication with him. The proceedings 
against him were secret. His life was at stake. 

By an accident Porfirio made a discovery which en- 
abled him to save his master's life. Being rent collector 
of a house owned by his cousin, the priest Ramon 
Pardo, and the house being occupied by Colonel Leon, 



DIAZ, MASTER OF MEXICO 

prosecutor of the case against Perez, the young man 
was compelled to wait one day in the prosecutor's office, 
when he saw on the table the brief against his friend and 
benefactor, which, in the fortunate absence of Colonel 
Leon, he hurriedly read. In this way he discovered what 
the other prisoners had sworn to. 

It was a matter of life-or-death importance that the 
tall prisoner of Santo Domingo should know what was 
in that brief. Not only did the liberty and, perhaps, the 
life of the patriot lawyer depend upon the information, 
but also the safety of other friends of the republic who 
had not yet been seized by the dictator. 

It seemed almost impossible to reach the close- 
guarded prisoner. There were other Liberals in the cells 
of the convent, but the cell in which Perez was confined 
was a special place for the caging of dangerous monks, 
high up, thick-walled, and with one iron-grated window 
overlooking a courtyard. 

In spite of this, Porfirio resolved that his friend 
should not perish. He and his brother Felix had be- 
come athletes and they planned to scale the walls of 
Santo Domingo. One night they made their way, hand 
over hand, in the darkness from one point to another, 
until they stood on the roof overhead from the small 
barred window of Perez's cell, which had a guard of fifty 
soldiers guarding it within the convent. 

Porfirio tied a rope about his body and was lowered 
in the night by his brother, around whose waist the rope 
was also passed. As the future President of Mexico 
swung on the end of his hempen support, now brushing 
the rough stone wall with his turning body, now hang- 
ing clear, he could hear the hard breathing of Felix 
above in the terrible stillness. When he reached the 
window the gaunt, white-faced lawyer, realizing that 

52 



FROM PRIESTHOOD TO LAW 

something unusual was happening and hoping to distract 
the attention of the guard at his door, put on his shoes 
and walked up and down the cell reciting the Psalms of 
David in a clear voice. At the same time he approached 
the window stealthily. The sentry harshly ordered him 
to lie down. As the old man looked through the iron 
bars into the darkness he saw the set face, burning eyes, 
and swaying body of his faithful pupil. At this the 
prisoner announced in Latin, which the guards could not 
understand, that it was dangerous to speak, and asked 
Porfirio to procure pencil and paper for him. 

Silently Porfirio gave the signal to his brother, who, 
after a desperate struggle against his weight, managed 
to pull him up to the roof again. 

Two nights later he repeated his perilous feat, fur- 
nishing his beloved professor with writing materials and 
with a written statement of all the most important points 
in his case. 

That desperate adventure saved Marcos Perez, who 
afterwards became governor of the state of Oaxaca and 
greatly helped the national movement that overthrew 
Santa Anna. After Perez's death, Diaz supported his 
daughter until she died, a gray-haired woman. 

Even now, fifty-six years after, Mexican patriots 
stand in the courtyard of gray old Santo Domingo, 
which has been turned into a barracks, and gaze up at the 
little window where Porfirio Diaz, hanging in the night 
on the end of a rope, first exposed his life for his country. 



CHAPTER V 

DEFYING THE DICTATOR SANTA ANNA 

MEANWHILE Mexico continued to suffer the agony 
and degradation of many revolutions. Santa Anna, 
whose mad and selfish eccentricities caused the Congress 
to banish him in 1845, returned to the country in 1846 
and took command of the demoralized army in the war 
with the United States, which had taken Texas as a 
state while her territory was still claimed by Mexico. 
The first troops sent against the United States had re- 
belled, and their general, Paredes, even planned to turn 
the distracted and bankrupt republic over to the Spanish 
prince, Don Enrique. Paredes was beaten and banished. 
Then Santa Anna took charge of the army and turned 
the government over to Gomez Farias, who, to get funds 
for the war, confiscated a part of the church property; 
whereupon there was another revolution and savage 
fighting in the streets of the capital, which was ended by 
Santa Anna, who again took supreme control, presently 
to resign in favor of the lawyer Pena y Pena. 

When the United States Army, under General Scott, 
swept from the Atlantic coast into the valley of Mexico 
American soldiers actually played baseball at Orizaba 
with Santa Anna's wooden leg and hoisted the Ameri- 
can flag over Chapultepec Castle on September 14, 1847, 
the power of Santa Anna was gone for the time. Hav- 
ing been taken prisoner by the Texan army in 1836, he 

54 



DEFYING SANTA ANNA 

had basely agreed to recognize the independence of the 
little republic as the price of his own liberty. And now, 
when his country, crushed by the American invaders, 
was surrendering 522,568 square miles of territory in 
the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, including the great 
domain of California, in which gold had just been dis- 
covered, the beaten and discredited adventurer had 
skulked out of Mexico, having first tried to set himself 
up in the state of Oaxaca, from whose capital he was 
sternly excluded by Governor Juarez. 

But that was not the end of Santa Anna. Plots, 
uprisings, revolutions continued to vex the country and 
drain it of its wealth and strength. It must be remem- 
bered that in the forty-seven years between 1821 and 
1868 the Mexican form of government was changed ten ' 
times and that in that jperiod of national independence 
there were about (J$oo\ successful and unsuccessful 
revolutions or revolts, to say nothing of the fact that 
at Ieast(fifty jlifferent persons held the supreme executive ^ 
power as presidents, dictators, emperors, or regents,- So 
that when General Herrera was elected President in 
1848, and he was peacefully succeeded by General Arista, 
elected in 1851, there were more revolutionary procla- 
mations and plots, and an uprising in Guadalajara, fol- 
lowed in 1853 by the resignation of Arista who was 
promptly banished when the unspeakable Santa Anna 
returned to Mexico and then, after Juan B. Ceballos 
and General Lombardini had failed to maintain order, 
Santa Anna came back at the call of conservative offi- 
cers, bishops, and priests, and became an outright and 
absolute dictator, with the title " His Most Serene High- 
ness/' 

The dictator seized Juarez, who had retired from the 
governorship of Oaxaca, and sent him to the dungeons 

5 55 



DIAZ, MASTER OF MEXICO 

of .San Juan Uloa, recalled the banished Jesuits to 
Mexico, provided himself with cash by selling 45,535 
square miles of the country on the frontier of Sonora 
to the United States for $10,000,000, and authorized 
Gutierrez Estrada the famous senator who in 1840 
had been compelled to fly from the popular rage when he 
proposed a Mexican kingdom to go to Europe and 
negotiate for the virtual sale of the sovereignty of 
Mexico. 

It seemed as though the republic was to perish, and 
open opposition to the dictator, who had the army, the 
aristocracy, and trnf Church behind Kfm/rWas jpunished 
by imprisonment or deatf). In 1854 there were only two 
small railways in the country, fifteen miles in all, and the 
alcabalas, or internal custom houses, crushed all attempts 
to develop inland commerce. The^_Church, with its 
mighty revenues, and the great landed proprietors^were" 
supporting Santa Anna, who had the army in his hands 
and the spending of more than $19,000,000 of the na- 
tional income, to say nothing of the $10,000,000 to be 
paid by the United States for the splendid territorial 
surrender out of which Arizona and New Mexico were 
formed. Europe laughed at the dismal end of the re- 
publican experiment, to protect which the United States 
had threatened the Holy Alliance in the Monroe Doc- 
trine. 

Yet the moral nerve of Mexico was still alive. Al- 
though the colonels, bishops, and monks cheered the 
semimonarchy of Santa Anna, which would have been 
a monstrous joke were it not for its bloody persecutions, 
a revolution was proclaimed in the village of Ayutla^Sn 
the state of Guerrero, and the fight against the dictator 
in the south was led by General Juan Alvarez. This was 
the formal beginning of the final armed struggle between 

56 



DEFYING SANTA ANNA 

Church and State, but its immediate object was the over- 
throw of Santa Anna. Alvarez was one of the heroes 
of the war for independence. He was a full-blooded 
Indian, like Juarez, and had an Indian following. Being" 
in the mountains of Guerrero, north of Oaxaca, his 
dashing guerrilla raids stirred the hopes of the oppressed 
Liberals everywhere. 

The hearts of the terrorized patriots went out to 
Alvarez, but they spoke his name in whispers. To be 
known as a sympathizer meant instant imprisonment, 
perhaps death. Santa Anna's spies were everywhere, and 
Santa Anna himself, in a murderous rage, had taken the 
field against the rebels. 

Suddenly, in December, 1854, the dictator decided 
to go through the sham of a popular vote, in order to 
give an appearance of legality to his power, and a plebi- 
scite wa^ord^Te^alEn^ugF^ that 
/ no man might vote for anyone but Santa Anna, save at 
the risk of his life. 

It was in that time that Porfirio Diaz, twenty-four, 
years old, showed the stuff that was in him. 

On the day of the vote which was to confirm Santa 
Anna as dictator, the director of the Institute where Diaz 
was serving as a substitute professor of law in Oaxaca 
< Jt!arez having escaped from his dungeon and fled to 
New Orleans asked all the professors to go to 4he 
palace in a body and vote for ^Santa Anna. Diaz refused 
to consent to this degradation. 

Nevertheless, he went alone to the palace, which 
stood on one side of the plaza, opposite to the cathedral. 
It was a scene that might well have overawed the bravest 
man. Thejdaza was brilliant with massed troops. There 
were shotted cannons in position at the corners. Soldiers 
"with set "Bayonets guarded all the streets leading to the 

57 



DIAZ, MASTER OF MEXICO 

plaza and the cowed populace looked silently at the glit- 
tering steel from afar. 

Within the vestibule of the palace was a raised plat- 
form covered with a crimson cloth, and on a table was 
a huge book, in which voters were required to write their 
names and their choice. Here were Santa Anna's offi- 
cers, grave, watchful, and there was a curious silence 
that went well with the stern, cold face of General 
Ignacio Martinez Pinillos, the governor and military 
commander of Oaxaca, who presided at the poll. 

Young Diaz surveyed the ominous spectacle with 
keen interest. He had by this time developed broad 
shoulders and a deep chest. There was a fighting square- 
ness in his chin, his jaws had a powerful sweep, and he 
held his head at an aggressive and alert slant. His eyes 
were more searchingly brilliant and black than ever and 
answered sensitively to the occasional quiverings of his 
thin, wide nostrils. He has since confessed that he went 
to the old stone palace that day in the hope that during 
the mock voting ordered by the tyrant there might be 
something to provoke an armed uprising, in which he 
might be able to strike a blow. 

Presently one of his neighbors, Don Serepio Mal- 
donado, appeared and announced that, as the represen- 
tative of all residents in his division of the city, which 
included Diaz himself, he voted for Santa Anna as Su- 
preme Dictator. Diaz at once protested and had his vote 
withdrawn on the ground that he did not wish to exercise 
his privilege. 

Down the street and across the plaza, between the 
troops and the cannon, marched the professors of the 
Institute, where Juarez and Perez and other patriots 
now in exile had raised the consciousness of his country's 
wrongs in the soul of Diaz; into the shadow of the 

58 



DEFYING SANTA ANNA 

palace, up to the crimson platform, bowing humbly to 
the cold-faced governor, and writing down their names 
for Santa Anna. 

Diaz stood by and watched his servile associates with 
flushed cheeks and flashing eyes. None dared to raise 
his voice against the corrupt and bj$ody usurper, who 
had made fugitives of Juarez and^ferez, and was even 
then seeking the death of the heroic General Alvarez and 
his half-starved army of mountain Indians, the sole de- 
fenders of the republic. 

As the young patriot looked, Professor de Encisco 
turned and asked him why he did not vote. Diaz replied 
that voting was a right which he might exercise or not, 
as he chose. 

" Yes," cried the professor, " one does not vote when 
he is afraid." 

Hardly had the taunt been uttered when Diaz 
grasped the pen offered to him, pushed his way through 
the throng, advanced to the voting table, and, without 
an instant's hesitation, wrote down the name of General 
Alvarez, the leader of the rebellion against Santa Anna. 
Before the dictator's official creatures could realize that 
their master had been deliberately defied before their 
very eyes by a youth of twenty- four years, Diaz had dis- 
appeared from the palace. 

It was decided that the young Oaxacan had com- 
mitted a felony, and presently a shoemaker, passing Diaz 
in the public garden, warned him that orders for his 
arrest were out. While the police were searching for 
him he got a pair of pistols from the house of the exiled 
Perez. His boy servant brought to him his horse, pis- 
tols, and machete. Then he summoned a notorious and 
desperate bandit, named Esteban Aragon, who had once 
secretly proposed a plan of revolution to him; and ac- 

59 



DIAZ, MASTER OF MEXICO 

companied only tjy this companion, who stole a horse for 
the journey, the student who had dared to publicly defy 
Santa Anna in the midst of his armed hirelings rode for 
his life out of his native city toward the Mixtecd moun- 
tains. The Indian blood danced in his veins as he dashed 
on to the rough ridges from which it was drawn. Just 
outside of the city a party of rural police ordered them 
to halt, but the fugitives made glittering circles in the air 
with their machetes, dug the spurs into their horses, and 
swept through the shouting police line irresistibly. 

Even in that wild ride, which was his entrance into 
warriorhood, and knowing that the dictator's troops 
would be hot on the road after him, Diaz stopped at the 
village of Ejutla, explained that his companion's horse 
was stolen, gave it up, and procured another one. 

Soon after, he and Aragon joined a band of bare- 
footed, blanketed Indian revolutionists in the hills. They 
were untrained peasants, partly armed, and were led by 
an uneducated Indian named Herrera but Diaz had 
just come from an experience that made the slovenly 
band of mountain peasants look like shining heroes com- 
pared with the rabbit-hearted scholars who had groveled 
at the feet of Santa Anna's officials in Oaxaca and had 
denied the cause of Mexican liberty and constitutional 
government for the sake of safe and easy lives. 

Diaz was not only a powerful athlete and a good 
rider, but long rides and tramps among the surround- 
ing hills and valleys, and much hunting and other open- 
air adventures, had given to him a manner, which, with 
the command of military terms learned in a class of 
strategy and tactics organized by Juarez in the Institute, 
greatly impressed the Indians, and soon Herrera, won 
over by the young horseman's dignity and obvious in- 
stinct for leadership, agreed to share the command with 

60 



DEFYING SANTA ANNA 

him. The force consisted of about 200 men, untaught 
mountaineers, mostly armed with machetes and farm 
implements. 

With these humble followers Diaz proposed to make 
a stand against trained and well-armed soldiers. There 
was a strong body of government forces in the neighbor- 
hood, under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel Cana- 
lizo, but the enemy which he was determined to face 
was a force of from 80 to a 100 cavalry, and 50 in- 
fantry,_which had been^sent out froifr~Oaxaca to cap- 
_tlirgL him. Diaz ordered his men to lie down on the 
heights overlooking the ravine of Teotongo. Down in 
the ravine was a spring of water. The pursuers would 
undoubtedly halt there to drink. Under Diaz's directions 
the Indians loosened a great number of rocks above the 
spring, and adjusted levers, so that they could be rolled 
down at a moment's notice. After a while the little army 
sent out to take Diaz prisoner made its way into the 
valley and a part of it halted beside the water. Then 
at a signal Diaz and his men opened fire and a moment 
later an avalanche of rocks was hurled down upon the 
troops. The bewildered soldiers fled in one direction, 
while the excited Indians promptly fled in another direc- 
tion. That was the first battle of Mexico's greatest 
soldier. 

Soon after, the little Indian force was dispersed and 
Diaz continued on through the mountains alone with the 
patriot bandit Aragon, touching many villages, until at 
last he reached the village of Coanana. There he de- 
cided to stop in a friend's house and he dismissed 
Aragon. It is interesting to know that this desperate 
robber, whose life was transformed by patriotism, and 
who was at the side of Diaz in his first fight for the 
republic in the Mixteco mountains, afterwards served as 

61 



DIAZ, MASTER OF MEXICO 

a guerrilla leader for the republic during the war against 
European intervention. When Diaz was besieged by 
Bazaine at Oaxaca, Aragon placed himself with 400 
men at his orders, and won distinction by his bravery. 
After the fall of Oaxaca he escaped and was the chief 
guerrilla leader against the French in the southern part 
of the state. One night he was surprised while playing 
cards and, in spite of a desperate defense, a French guer- 
rilla cleft his skull open with a machete. 



CHAPTER VI 




ON THE THRESHOLD OF CIVIL WAR 

THERE was a stir in the Indian villages of the rugged 
Zapotec mountains when Porfirio Diaz was appointed 
subprefect of Ixtlan.. Stalwart, deep-chested, tanned 
by the sun, fleet-footed as a deer ; with a martial air and 
the prestige of having defied Santa Anna in the palace 
of_Qaxaa^nd^scattered regular troops with a rabBIe of 
hal f-a^mejJMiaji^ieasants^Jie was a hero in the eyes of 
the mountaineers among whom Juarez was born. 

la had been defeated in the summer of 
Juarez, having escaped from his dungeon, had 
fled to New Orleans, and afterwards reached General 
Alvarez and the Liberal forces at Acapulco. The dic- 
tator in vain tried to capture this city, and finally was 
driven from the field, flying, as usual, to Havana, and 
thence to St. Thomas. That was the end of his power 
in Mexico. He Was long afterwards sentenced to death 
for treason, but Juarez magnanimously changed the 
penalty to eight years of exile, and in the very year that 
saw Diaz master of Mexico, 1876, Santa Anna, in his 
dotage, died almost forgotten. 

After the overthrow of the dictator the triumphant 
Liberals chose General Alvarez as President, and that 
white-haired and infirm soldier placed Juarez_in_his_Cabi- 
net as minister of justice and religion. 

Through the influence of stanch old Marcos Perez 

63 



DIAZ, MASTER OF MEXICO 

the new governor of the state of Oaxaca, General Jose 
Maria Garcia, sent young Diaz to his post in the rough 
mountains. 

The Indians of Ixtlan were nntorioii5h?:.ignQrant-aad- 
cowardly. Their timidity and clumsiness had created a 
reputation which made them the joke of the countryside. 
Even the state, seeking for military recniits,-4iad..-coit 
temptuously refuseB^to accept the Indians of the Ixtlan 
district for service in the National Guard. 

Now Diaz revealed something of the rare judgment 
of human nature and hard-headed resourcefulness which 
helped him to make a nation out of Mexico. 

Then and there he organized the forsaken moun- 
taineers into a soldiery that served him through all the 
wars that lay before him. 

Diaz was barely twenty-five years old. Yet already 
the passion for organization and leadership was strong 
in him. He called the awkward and untrained men of 
the mountains together and set them in a line, bare- 
footed, blanketed, and embarrassed. Then he stood be- 
fore them, took off his jacket, threw out his sinewy chest, 
held his head high, worked his arms and shoulders to 
show his knotted muscles, and deliberately walked up 
and down before the ranked slatterns, inviting the aston- 
ished men to look at the evidence of his physical power. 
He told them that he had once been thin and weak, but 
that by practice he had made himself strong, and he as- 
sured them that any man could make himself equally 
muscular and lithe. 

There was something about Diaz as he exhorted the 
despised mountaineers to make themselves fit to defend 
their villages, something commanding and convincing in 
his sunburned face as he strode up and down in the 
little plaza, which was surrounded by the women and 



ON THE THRESHOLD OF CIVIL WAR 

children of the village, that caught the fancy of the 
Indians. 

Soon the young leader was drilling the men regu- 
larly in athletic exercises, into which he gradually intro- 
duced military methods. There was some grumbling, 
but he was determined to make soldiers out of his vil- 
lagers in spite of themselves, and he popularized his 
work by organizing dances for the women. 

It must be understood that Diaz had no instructions 
to raise soldiers. The idea was entirely his own and he 
said nothing to the governor about it, but went on 
quietly drilling his men, until, with guns in their hands, 
he gave them their final exercises as fighting men. Jle 
even established a night school and personally taught the 
jpfeers to read and write. This was the beginning of 
the famous Oaxaca battalion^ which followed him in 
many battles and was the terror of the republic's ene- 
mies; nay, even when he was hunted like a beast and 
made his way to Ixtlan, it was these very men who began 
the armed march which ended in his final victory and the 
beginning of his thirty years' rule over a peaceful and 
united country. 

Before he organized this remarkable little body of 
soldiers, Diaz had had no practical military training save 
that in 1847, when the invading army of the United 
States had penetrated into the state of Oaxaca, the Na- 
tional Guard was hurried forward, while a company of 
juveniles, among them young Diaz, did service for a 
few days in the local capital. This company was de- 
risively named " Peor es Nada " (" Nothing is worse "). 

Much stilted and emotional nonsense has been writ- 
ten about Porfirio Diaz, mainly by servile or hysterical 
Mexicans, but it is not fair to hold him responsible for 
the gross eulogies of scribblers whose preposterous flat- 

65 



DIAZ, MASTER OF MEXICO 

teries have amused or disgusted such a serious and mas- 
terful character. The author of these lines has many 
times heard him speak with scorn and ridicule of the 
high-flown and servile exaggerations "with which his 
career has been described. Yet it would be hard to 
overestimate the solid judgment, patriotic foresight, 
energy, and resourcefulness of the broad-shouldered 
young student of twenty-five years who, without advice 
or orders, turned timid and half-clad Indian louts into 
good soldiers in the rugged heart of the Zapotec moun- 
tains. Neither Caesar nor Alexander could have done 
more. And while he drilled the childlike mountaineers, 
and taught them how to read and write, he paid out of 
his own pocket the church fees for baptisms, so that 
hundreds came to call him godfather in the desperate 
days when he and Mexico called for men to save the 
oppressed republic. 

Hardly had Diaz got his Indians ready for fighting 
when he had an opportunity to use them. 

In November, 1855, Juarez, now a powerful member 
of Alvarez's Cabinet, persuaded the venerable President 
to proclaim a new and never-to-be-forgotten law, abol- 
ishing the special privileges of the Church and the 
Army. 

Up to that time no ecclesiastic could be sued, and no 
army officer, however humble, could be tried, in the ordi- 
nary courts. Not even murder or treason could deprive 
military men of the protection of their own special tri- 
bunals. Nor could any civil action, however great the 
property involved, lie against an ecclesiastic in the secu- 
lar tribunals. Even the women who lived in the estab- 
lishments of priests frequently declined the jurisdiction 
of the regular courts when sued by their dressmakers. 
It was impossible to maintain the republic under such 

66 



ON THE THRESHOLD OF CIVIL WAR 

horrible conditions of inequality, for most of the crimes 
were committed by men claiming military immunities, 
while perhaps a third of the property of the whole coun- 
try was in the hands of the Church, which also monop- 
olized the business of money-lending. The " Law of 
Juarez " destroyed this vast system of injustice, making 
priests and soldiers equal with ordinary men before the 
law, although the ecclesiastical criminal tribunals were 
still permitted. 

It was a terrific blow to the power of the Church, 
which provoked armed revolt. Even Ignacio Comon- 
fort, who had helped to overthrow Santa Anna, and was 
now in the Cabinet of Alvarez, shrank from what seemed 
to be a desperate step against the sanctities of privilege. 
But Juarez had his way. 

The Cabinet was divided, with Juarez leading one 
side and Comonfort the other. 

Then hell seemed gradually to break loose and the 
foundations of the nation shook as the enraged church- 
men, secretly aided by their military friends, planned 
rebellions in many parts of the country. The political 
sky grew black. The Church worked itself into a high 
pitch of fury. The gaudy, jingling generals and colo- 
nels mingled their curses with the indignant outcries of 
the bishops and monks. The old order, with its vast 
wealth, its almost perfect organization, its hireling sol- 
diery, its social prestige, and its terrifying power of 
ecclesiastical anathema, prepared to resist what its ablest 
leaders recognized as the first step toward its final and 
complete destruction. 

Poor old Alvarez, alarmed by the growing menace 
of the situation and desiring to save the weak and im- 
poverished republic, resigned from office and appointed 
Comonfort as Substitute President, in the hope that his 

67 



DIAZ, MASTER OF MEXICO 

successor's more moderate attitude might conciliate the 
Church and its forces. 

Juarez was implacable in his determination to have 
the new law executed. President Comonfort promptly 
dismissed the Indian lawyer from his Cabinet and sent 
him back to be governor of Oaxaca again. But even 
Comonfort did not dare to abandon the " Law of 
Juarez," especially after the Mexican Congress gave 
it solemn legislative sanction, although the Substitute 
President had to crush a fierce Church uprising in Puebla 
by armed force. 

Down in Oaxaca the governor of the state, General 
Jose Maria Garcia, who, after the triumph of the Lib- 
erals over Santa Anna, had declared himself to be an 
adherent of the Liberal cause, suddenly arid unexpectedly 
turned against it and attacked a small body of Liberals, 
who shut themselves up in the convent barracks of Santo 
Domingo. 

Lean, gray-haired Marcos Perez sent word to his 
heroic young pupil at Ixtlan ; and Diaz, who had been 
watching in his mountain village for some signal, swept 
down to Oaxaca with his drilled Indians, followed also 
by a multitude of mountaineers armed only with farm 
implements, but determined to die if necessary in sup- 
port of their leader. Leaving the bulk of his 400 sol- 
diers concealed in a defile near Oaxaca, Diaz started into 
the city with the rest of his force, but Liberal mes- 
sengers met him and announced that Governor Garcia 
had again declared himself to be a Liberal. 

Soon after that Garcia again showed signs of treason 
to the republic, and once more Diaz marched with his 
Indians into the state capital. It was a critical time in 
the history of Mexico. Juarez was on his way to 
Oaxaca, having been appointed governor again by Com- 

68 



ON THE THRESHOLD OF CIVIL WAR 

on fort. The state was seething with treason and plots. 
It was believed that Comonfort was hostile to Juarez 
and jealous of him, and that he was secretly conniving 
with the desperate and rebellious Church leaders to de- 
stroy the radical Liberal elements. What more dramatic 
and crushing stratagem could be thought of than that 
the native state of Juarez, author of the new law for the 
administration of justice, should rise and trample him 
into the dust! 

Diaz arrived in the very nick of time. Governor 
Garcia sent a severe message to the young commander, 
ordering him to return to the mountains and disband his 
men. With flashing eyes Diaz answered that he did not 
recognize the authority of Garcia and would wait for 
the arrival of Governor Juarez. Thereupon he quar- 
tered his men in the convent of Santo Domingo, which 
was the Liberal headquarters. Then he went to the 
palace and told Garcia to his face that he would take 
orders from no one but the new governor. 

When Juarez arrived in Oaxaca all was peace and 
he was greeted by the new-made soldiers of his own 
dusky mountain people. The noble Zapotec afterwards 
commissioned Diaz as a captain in the National Guard. 

Yet the real struggle for control of the destinies of 
Mexico was yet to come. 

In June, 1856, the Congress passed a law compell- 
ing the Church to sell the whole of its landed property 
except buildings' used for public worship. This far- 
reaching act was drawn up by Miguel Lerdo de Tejada 
(a brother to Sebastian Lerdo de Tejada, afterwards 
the principal minister and adviser of Juarez), but it was 
directly inspired by Juarez, who, while restoring order 
and representative government in Oaxaca, kept in close 
touch with the vortex of national politics. It was not a 



DIAZ, MASTER OF MEXICO 

law of confiscation, but a measure to destroy the con- 
tinuity of the Church's mighty secular power through 
mortmain. In order that the republic might survive, it 
was necessary that the national future should be free 
from the dead hand of the aristocratic past. 

The Church resolved to fight for its privileges, yet 
the time was not ready for public resistance by the 
bishops, although the priesthood refused to confess or 
absolve any person who purchased ecclesiastical property. 
Armed revolts occurred in many parts of the country. 
The Bishop of Puebla denounced the law and the Arch- 
bishop of Mexico actually asked the government to lay 
the matter before the Pope. Then there was another 
attempted rebellion in Puebla, where the friends of the 
Church assembled 15,000 troops to smash the republic. 
However, Comonfort promptly scattered the insurgents 
and took enough church property to pay the cost of 
doing it. 

Notwithstanding the dreadful prospect of a civil war 
backed by the Church and its rich and powerful allies, 
to say nothing of the inevitable hostility of great Euro- 
pean nations in sympathy with papal indignation and 
protest, a Constitutional Congress promised by the Lib- 
erals was called, and a new Constitution, largely inspired 
by Juarez, was adopted, and signed by President Com- 
onfort on February 5, 1857, although it was not pro- 
claimed till September i6th, the anniversary of Hidalgo's 
cry for Mexican independence. 

This memorable Constitution which, in one day, 
swept away the whole power of the Church and reduced 
it to a private institution, its entire property confiscated, 
and its priesthood politically disfranchised, brought on a 
ten years' war, almost without a parallel in civilized 
countries. Diaz had turned from the priesthood to be- 

70 



ON THE THRESHOLD OF CIVIL WAR 

come a lawyer. The " War of the Reforms " made him 
a soldier. 

The Constitution of 1857 provided, among other 
things, for the freedom of the press; the nationalization, 
or confiscation, of about $200,000,000 of property owned 
by the Church; a prohibition of the ownership of real 
estate by the Church; the abolition of all military and 
ecclesiastical privileges; convents, both of monks and 
nuns, were suppressed; separation of Church and State 
was ordained; the clergy were disqualified for voting 
or holding office; religious demonstrations outside of 
churches were forbidden; the clergy were not permitted 
to wear ecclesiastical dress in the streets; Mexico was 
opened in all its parts to free immigration. 

When this great organic law was proclaimed Will- 
iam H. Seward declared it to be the best instrument of 
its kind in the world the Clericals organized the revolu- 
tion of Tacubaya, in the suburbs of the national capital, 
and Felix Zuloaga, who had been a croupier in a gam- 
bling hall, assuming the rank of general, proclaimed a 
rebellion under the " plan of Tacubaya," which met the 
new Constitution of the Mexican republic with a pro- 
gramme declaring, among other things : 

That church property and church revenues should 
be inviolate; that the special privileges of the Church 
and Army should be resumed ; that the Roman Catholic 
religion should be restored as the sole and exclusive re- 
ligion of Mexico; that there should be a censorship of 
the press; that immigration should be confined to immi- 
grants from Catholic countries ; that the Constitution of 
1857 should be abolished and a central dictatorship estab- 
lished, with the Church practically in control; and, if 
possible, that monarchy should be restored, or a Euro- 
pean protectorate arranged. 
6 71 



DIAZ, MASTER OF MEXICO 

Pius IX Declared the government of Mexico to be 
under the curse of the Church, and throughout the un- 
happy country, already wasted by interminable strife, 
there went up a cry for war to the death, a cry sounded 
at the altars and echoed in the vast monasteries, where 
even the monks themselves armed for the onslaught. 



CHAPTER VII 

DIAZ'S FIRST BAPTISM OF BLOOD 

CAPTAIN DIAZ had come down from his mountain 
post toward the end of the year 1856 when the first 
savage mutterings of civil war were heard. 

He was now a hero among his fellows, who remem- 
bered how the law student had openly defied Santa 
Anna in the state palace, and had scattered troops sent 
in pursuit of him. 

Twice he had come to the rescue of Oaxaca with his 
drilled mountaineers. But there was no swagger in 
him. He was as silent, as serious, and as energetic as 
ever. He had received a small salary for his civic work 
in Ixtlan, but not one centavo had he accepted for his 
military services. Now he was a professional soldier, 
regularly elected to a captaincy in the National Guard. 

There was a tendency to revolt on the Pacific coast 
of the state of Oaxaca. Angry priests were stirring up 
the population, which had a considerable negro element. 
Governor Juarez went in person to Tehuantepec to quiet 
the people and explain matters. But there was a negro 
uprising in the district of Jamiltepec, headed by Jose M. 
Salado. The black mob had been worked into a frenzy 
by local parish priests against the new Constitution. 
So, his patience exhausted, Juarez ordered the National 
Guard to march and subdue the rebels. The expedition 

73 



DIAZ, MASTER OF MEXICO 

of 400 men wa& commanded by Colonel Manuel Velasco. 
Captain Diaz accompanied it. 

On August 1 3th the troops arrived at the village of 
Ixcapa, in the heart of the rebellious district. The fight 
began in the streets of the village. Diaz was advancing 
on foot at the head of his company, sword in hand, 
broad-shouldered, his face tanned brown, his great dark 
eyes burning with the emotion of the approaching death 
grapple. In front of him he saw an advancing body 
of the enemy with a shouting priest riding a horse and 
holding up a large black cross. He was preparing to 
attack this force when, passing an intersecting lane, a 
party of the enemy appeared on his right flank, and he 
had to turn quickly to engage it. At the first volley he 
received a wound which caused him to fall to the ground ; 
but he struggled to his feet, pale and bleeding, and con- 
tinued to fight. He had been shot through the body and 
he staggered as he moved, so that his astonished soldiers 
cheered him as he went on into the thick of the battle. 
In spite of his agony, the young soldier who was yet to 
command armies and remake history, continued to fight 
until his bayonet charge had driven back the flanking 
troops. Whereupon the main body of the enemy was 
attacked in front, the rebel Salado commanding in per- 
son. The leader swung a machete and cut open the 
head of a sergeant who was loading a musket, but the 
sergeant pulled the trigger and the charge, which in- 
cluded the ramrod, struck Salado in the breast, and he 
was then bayoneted. That broke his force, which fled, 
giving the Liberals a complete victory. Many of the 
fugitives were drowned in attempting to cross a stream. 
Some were shot in the water. Others were eaten by 
alligators. 

After the battle Diaz had a terrible time of it. He 

74 



DIAZ'S FIRST BAPTISM OF BLOOD 

had been shot in the left side. First, the major of his 
battalion bandaged his wound to stop the hemorrhage. 
Then a drunken Indian applied pine resin, eggs, and 
fat to the wound. Presently he was removed to a 
hacienda near Ixcapa, and there a surgeon made two 
incisions and probed for the bullet, extracting nothing 
but a fragment of bone. Whereupon the wound was 
poulticed. 

After a stay of eighteen days at the hacienda, with 
the rest of the wounded, some of the men started to 
carry him in a litter to another hacienda about sixty 
miles away. There had been heavy rains and the ground 
was wet and slippery. The litter carriers occasionally 
fell and upset the future President of Mexico into the 
mud. During all this time he made no complaint. Pres- 
ently he had a horse saddled and, in great pain, rode 
the rest of the way. On September 30, 1857, Captain 
Diaz arrived in Oaxaca. There he was examined by 
good surgeons, including Manuel Ortega Reyes, after- 
wards his father-in-law. It was decided that probably 
the bullet was encysted, and poultices and caustic potash 
were applied. Both the friends and enemies of Diaz 
have learned many times that he is an exceptionally 
hard man to kill. 

This first baptism of blood aroused in Diaz a patriotic 
appetite for fighting that took many bloody years to 
satisfy. Looking into the seething abyss of his country's 
future, he saw something that drew from his Spanish- 
Indian blood its most heroic qualities. Even in the midst 
of the murderous excitements which surged up around 
him in his native city, he was always reserved, sober, 
thoughtful, steady. Again and again in his career he 
has proved himself to be a man capable of profound 
political emotions. The depth and intensity of his love 

75 



DIAZ, MASTER OF MEXICO 

for his country Jias been revealed in lightning flashes of 
utterance when his loyalty and courage were put to the 
test in great crises ; but his ordinary attitude has been 
that of a practical patriot, seeking how to make use of 
his strength and intelligence, intent upon deeds rather 
than words; and if he has at times burst into the high- 
sounding phrases of the civilization which begot him, it 
has been when the exigencies of leadership called for 
eloquence. 

The whole scene of Mexican national life suddenly 
changed after he returned to Oaxaca. The armed 
Church, uttering its war cries throughout the country, 
and launching its anathemas from every altar, staggered 
President Comonfort. On the very eve of the proclama- 
tion of the new Constitution he had discovered an armed 
conspiracy of the monks of the great convent of San 
Francisco, whose establishment covered a large part of 
the City of Mexico. The next day he sent troops to the 
convent, suppressed it, and cut two wide streets through 
its grounds. 

Comonfort had been reflected to the presidency 
and Juarez had, at the same time, been elected Chief 
Justice of the Supreme Court, and thus became Con- 
stitutional successor to the President. The storm of 
Church hostility and the sudden activity of revolu- 
tionists, supplied with funds by the Church and led by 
discontented military adventurers, shattered the nerve 
and confounded the judgment of Comonfort. In an hour 
of despair he surrendered to the Clerical party, aban- 
doned the new Constitution, dissolved Congress, and put 
Juarez in prison. There was constant fighting between 
the Liberals and Clericals in the streets of the national 
capital. Presently Comonfort changed his mind again, 
released Juarez, and attempted to restore order. But it 



DIAZ'S FIRST BAPTISM OF BLOOD 

was too late; the civil war had begun in earnest, and 
Comonfort fled from the country on February 5, 1858. 

After the flight of Comonfort, Juarez became the 
Constitutional President of Mexico. Thereupon, the ene- 
mies of the republic declared Zuloaga President. The 
Liberals were compelled to abandon the City of Mexico 
which was occupied by the usurping Clerical govern- 
ment and assembled in Queretaro, where Juarez was 
regularly installed as Constitutional President on Janu- 
ary 10, 1858. Juarez moved to Guadalajara, where he 
organized his government. But even in Guadalajara 
there was war. The Liberals and Clericals fought sav- 
agely in the streets for possession of the city. Mexico 
and Puebla were in the hands of Zuloago and his forces, 
but the rest of the country seemed to be true to Juarez 
and the Constitution. 

One of Juarez's officers, Colonel Landa, who had 
been intrusted with the defense of the presidential palace, 
turned traitor. He made prisoners of the President 
and his Cabinet, and then coolly informed Juarez that 
he would release him if he would order his troops to 
surrender Guadalajara to the enemy. The great In- 
dian refused the offer with scorn. Whereupon Landa 
brought a squad of soldiers into the room and com- 
manded them to shoot the prisoners. 

As the executioners formed in line, Juarez advanced 
and faced them, and when the muskets were aimed and 
the order to fire was given, he raised his head and calmly 
looked the soldiers in the eyes. For an instant the men 
faltered. Juarez remained immovable, his glance fixed 
steadily upon them. Then every man grounded his mus- 
ket. Landa did not repeat his order. He accepted a 
hastily gathered bribe of $8,000 and contentedly retired 
with his forces. 

77 



DIAZ, MASTER OF MEXICO 

The Clerical^army, under General Osollo, pressed so 
hard against Guadalajara, that Juarez was unable to 
hold the city and, retiring with his Cabinet, he vigorously 
made his way to Manzanillo, sailing from there to the 
United States, and thence reaching Vera Cruz, the fight- 
ing stronghold of the Liberals, where he established his 
government in the seaport leading to the capital. 

With the death of General Osollo the supreme com- 
mand of Zuloaga's army passed to General Miguel Mira- 
mon, a brilliant, handsome, and dashing young Mexican- 
born soldier of twenty-six years, who claimed descent 
from a Marquis de Miramon who died at the side of 
Francis I in the battle of Pavia. This intrepid fighter 
was afterwards dictator of Mexico and was executed 
with the so-called Emperor Maximilian. His two prin- 
cipal generals were Leonardo Marquez, a murderous and 
unprincipled scoundrel, whom Maximilian finally char- 
acterized as " the greatest blackguard in Mexico," and 
Tomas Mejia, a full-blooded Mexican Indian, of Guan- 
ajuato, who fought with ability and courage against the 
liberties of his country until he, too, was shot with 
Maximilian. 

While Juarez was flying to Vera Cruz, the Pope sent 
his blessing to Zuloaga, the usurper and ex-croupier, and 
tc dcums were chanted everywhere as armies and bands 
of guerrillas went forth, accompanied by shouting monks 
and religious banners, to drench the soil of Mexico with 
the blood of its patriot Indian soldiers, for the real re- 
public had few to defend it now save the descendants of . 
the prehistoric Oriental races who peopled the land be- 
fore Columbus and Cortes came with Christianity and 
gunpowder. 

Ability to fight does not mean ability to govern, nor 
does a strong desire for liberty always imply an under- 

78 



DIAZ'S FIRST BAPTISM OF BLOOD 

standing of or capacity for democratic institutions. Shut 
up in Vera Cruz and besieged by 7,000 men and 40 
cannon, under Miramon, who had thrust Zuloaga aside 
and become President himself, Juarez, " the man in the 
black coat," answered the thunders of the embattled 
Church and the menace of great nations like England, 
France, and Spain, which had officially recognized the 
usurping government at the capital, by decrees confiscat- 
ing even the ecclesiastical revenues and completing the 
separation of Church and State, and by simple but thrill- 
ing appeals to the Mexican masses to fight to the death 
for a Constitutional republic founded upon justice, equal 
rights, and religious liberty. His decrees revived and put 
into force the great scheme for stripping the church of 
its power which Comonfort had abandoned. 

While the majestic words of Juarez rang out over 
the immense theater of civil war in Mexico, there was 
germinating in the soul of a young captain in Oaxaca, 
whose wounds still caused him to limp about the streets, 
the leadership and executive power that, through the 
bloody mists of desolating wars, was to bring to the 
wasted nation peace and safety, and establish the objects 
of democracy even against some of its most sentimental 
prescriptions. 



CHAPTER VIII 

FIGHTING FOR THE REPUBLIC IN TEHUANTEPEC 

STILL carrying in his body the bullet' iie received in 
the battle of Ixcapa, where about 400 Liberal soldiers 
had defeated nearly 1,000 of the enemy, Diaz moved 
painfully about Oaxaca, listening, with set mouth and 
stern eyes, to the terrible stories of slaughter and pil- 
lage that came in to the old city almost every day after 
Juarez became President. He was still very weak and 
his wound was hardly healed, yet he was eager to take 
the field again. 

The enemies of the republic, determined on gaining 
control of the southern part of Mexico, had filled it with 
irregular troops, raiders, and guerrillas, headed by vet- 
eran Spanish smugglers, bandits, and experienced mili- 
tary desperadoes from the old Carlist army, who had 
been brought across the ocean in pursuance of the plan 
of the Clericals to destroy the Constitution of 1857 and 
the government which was responsible for it. The real 
leaders in this brutal warfare were the Cobos brothers, 
Marcelino and Jose Maria, and next in importance was 
one Conchado. 

Soon after Juarez had left Oaxaca he had been suc- 
ceeded as governor of the state by Jose M. Diaz Ordaz, 
a relative of Captain Diaz. The struggle for possession 
of the city between the Liberals and Conservatives, as 
the Clericals called themselves, became so violent that 

80 



FIGHTING IN TEHUANTEPEC 

Governor Ordaz had to declare a state of siege, and in 
a proclamation he said : 

" National Guards : It is necessary to show our auda- 
cious enemies that it was you who gloriously defeated 
the reactionaries on the fields of Acatlan and Ixcapa. 
Their bands are commanded by Spaniards. Prove to 
these foreigners that the National Guard of Oaxaca 
[they were all Indians] knows how to make the name of 
the state respected." 

The Cobos brothers and their armed ruffians pos- 
sessed themselves of the central part of the city, in which 
the state palace stood, so that the Liberals became the 
besieging force. 

Diaz, who still walked with difficulty, had taken up 
his residence in the Santo Domingo convent barracks. 
It was just then that troops commanded by Jose Maria 
Cobos seized the palace of the staie government and 
made it his headquarters. Governor Ordaz, with the 
National Guard under Colonel Ignacio Mejia after- 
wards the famous republican general took refuge in the 
convents of Santo Domingo, El Carmen, and Santa Cat- 
arina, where Cobos besieged them. 

In this crisis for the fall of the proud old capital 
of Juarez's native state would have been a terrible blow 
to the Constitutionalist cause Diaz volunteered for 
active service, insisting that, while he was still sick, he 
was strong enough to fight. 

Then followed a characteristic stroke of strategy 
which President Diaz has described in his personal 
memoirs : 

" When we had been besieged for about twenty days, 
and demoralization, through lack of food and ammuni- 
tion, was producing its effects, I discovered that one of 

81 



DIAZ, MASTER OF MEXICO 

the barricades which the enemy had erected at the street 
crossing known as the Esquina del Cura Unda, consisted 
largely of sacks of flour and bran. I noticed that bullets 
in striking it sent up puffs of white powder. This sug- 
gested to me the idea that by a vigorous and sudden at- 
tack on the entrenchment we might get the food of 
which it was composed. I proposed to the governor 
that we should make the assault by stealth, and we 
agreed that at that moment (it was after ten o'clock at 
night) I should set out from our lines with twenty-five 
men of my company to bore through a continuous block 
of houses to the last one, which was inside the enemy's 
barricade, and from which it could be enfiladed. I got 
the twenty-five men I needed, yet they were not men of 
my company, but irregulars, including night watchmen 
with no military training. 

" During the night of January 9, 1858, we com- 
menced boring the walls, all of adobe. We wet the walls 
to soften them, and used carpenters' tools instead of 
picks, in order to make less noise. At each house 
through which we bored I had to leave one man in the 
yard and one on the roof, to cover my retreat. 

" I had only thirteen men with me when I reached 
the last house. It was a little grocery. Some of the 
enemy's men were in the grocery and some in the en- 
trenchment when the last hole was bored, opening into 
the back yard of the grocery. It happened that the 
leader Cobos himself was at that moment, in a lavatory, 
and, seeing a wall suddenly open, and men emerging 
from the hole, he thought it wise to stay where he was. 

" Forming my men in the back yard, I advanced to 
the front yard, and, finding a young woman there, shut 
her up i a room to prevent her from giving the alarm. 
I then occupied the back room of the shop. The win- 
dows of this commanded the entrenchment whose de- 
fenders I dislodged at the first volley, and they joined 
their comrades in the front shop. 

" Then there was a fight between the front and back 
82 



FIGHTING IN TEHUANTEPEC 

shops, and soon the corpses were piled high in the door- 
way between. 

" After half an hour's fighting I had only a few men 
left, and I gave orders to the bugler to sound a signal 
(a bugle-flourish known as the Diana) which, according 
to the plan arranged with Colonel Mejia, meant that I 
needed help. Colonel Mejia either failed to hear or did 
not understand, but our men in the towers of the churches 
of Santo Domingo and El Carmen set the bells ringing 
as in celebration of a triumph." 

It was in this desperate situation that Diaz first came 
face to face with General Manuel Gonsalez, who after- 
wards fought for the republic against European inter- 
vention and was raised to the presidency by the very 
man he tried to destroy that day. 

" The fight had been hot," continues President Diaz, 
" but the enemy had time enough to send a reinforcement 
of twenty men, commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Man- 
uel Gonsalez, afterwards a general of division. When 
I had lost nine men in the back shop, and was left with 
only three men and my bugler, I saw that our plan had 
miscarried because I had not received the promised as- 
sistance. I threw in quick succession several hand gre- 
nades into the front shop, in order to retreat without 
immediate pursuit. But in the retreat I had the misfor- 
tune to lose the line of the boring. My men had de- 
serted their posts, and in one house I lost my way. For- 
tunately the wall of the yard was not high and I climbed 
it just as my pursuers came in sight. My deviation 
threw them off the scent and I reached our lines in safety. 
The attempt to get food was a failure." 

In the week which followed this adventure the suffer- 
ing and demoralization among the besieged Liberals was 
so frightful that Governor Diaz Ordaz and Colonel Mejia 
were in despair, and to save the famished Indian garrison 

83 



DIAZ, MASTER OF MEXICO 

shut up in the convents, they decided to abandon the city 
to the enemy and fly to the mountains. When this be- 
came known, Captain Diaz and a few other young offi- 
cers agreed to disobey the order to retreat, and, instead, 
to make a decisive attack on the palace, the stronghold 
of Cobos. Neither the governor nor Colonel Mejia were 
in a position to coerce these bold officers, so it was de- 
cided to punish them for their audacity and contumacy 
by putting them at the head of the attacking columns. 

This furious assault, which gave the city again into 
the hands of the Liberals, was made at dawn on January 
1 6th, by three columns of 200 men each. Colonel Mejia 
held 400 men in reserve. Captain Diaz's old wound 
disabled him so much that he could not buckle on his 
sword, yet when Lieutenant-Colonel Velasco fell at the 
head of the second column he at once took command 
of it, and under a tremendous fire he united the first 
and second columns, whose commanders were shot, and 
dashed against the front of the palace, from which 
the enemy delivered deadly volleys, entering it by the 
main door, while the third column broke in at another 
point. There was a tremendous struggle inside of the 
palace, but the enemy fled in confusion, abandoning to 
the Liberals a quantity of money, arms, and ammunition, 
in addition to many prisoners. The reserve column com- 
pleted the victory. 

At the close of the fight Captain Diaz found that 
his wound had opened again. He was in a torment of 
pain and was weakened by the constant loss of blood. 
Notwithstanding his condition, he promptly mounted a 
horse, and with the blood streaming from his side 
he rode with 600 men in pursuit of the force com- 
manded by Marcelino Cobos, which more than doubled 
the strength of the pursuing column in numbers. It was 



FIGHTING IN TEHUANTEPEC 

a hot march of about 165 miles, but on February 
25th Cobos's army was overtaken at Jalapa, eight- 
een miles west of the city of Tehuantepec, and thor- 
oughly beaten, the wounded captain distinguishing him- 
self by bravery and energy in the decisive fight. For 
that victory the governor appointed Diaz to be governor 
and military commandant of the department of Tehuan- 
tepec. 

It was in Tehuantepec, often completely isolated and 
forced to rely on his own judgment to govern a hostile 
population and meet the ceaseless attacks of ruthless guer- 
rilla bands, that the young officer of twenty-eight years 
began to show the power and discernment which after- 
wards attracted the attention of the civilized world. 

The city of Tehuantepec was so bitterly opposed to 
the Liberal cause that when Diaz had a military band 
play in the plaza before the church on Sundays, the peo- 
ple would stop up their ears that they might not commit 
the sin of listening to music played by enemies of the 
Church. All about the picturesque little capital, with its 
famously beautiful women and sturdy Zapotec men, there 
stretched a wilderness of tropical jungles, infested by 
deadly reptiles and wild beasts, a country of malignant 
malaria and venomous mosquitos. Through this almost 
impassable region there roamed rebellious Indians and 
bands of irregular troops sent under bold and cunning 
leaders to wear out and overwhelm the valiant young 
Constitutionalist leader in Tehuantepec and his constantly 
dwindling garrison. 

It is hard to imagine a situation more exasperating, 
nor one calling more for persistent courage, loyalty, and 
alertness than that which now confronted Diaz. Forty- 
eight years afterwards, when he had completed the great 
Tehuantepec National Railway, connecting ocean to ocean 

85 



DIAZ, MASTER OF MEXICO 

across the Isthmus, from Puerto Mexico to Salina Cruz, 
with magnificent modern harbors equipped at either end 
of the international commercial route, it was his privilege 
to stand, as President of Mexico, in the presence of the 
official representatives of twenty nations and declare the 
system open to the commerce of the world. Yet in those 
early days, when his administration at times became an 
independent government for lack of communication, the 
defense of the republic in Tehuantepec developed into an 
almost incredible ordeal. 

In spite of fevers that wasted his strength, made his 
face gaunt, and brought dark circles under his big, melan- 
choly eyes ; in spite of the gnawing pain of his unhealed 
wound ; in spite of the hostility and treachery in the city, 
and the cruel, almost barbarous, soldiery threatening and 
attacking him from all sides, he gave battle to the enemy 
in some form or other almost every week for nearly two 
years. Yet his wound gave him such constant torture 
that he could not gird on a sword. 

At first the old Carlist soldier Conchado kept threat- 
ening Tehuantepec with a heavy force of Indians who 
had been worked into an almost insane fanaticism by 
priests. Diaz moved out against this column, and on 
April 13, 1858, he defeated it at the ranch of Las Jicaras, 
Conchado himself being killed in the battle. This vic- 
tory brought to him the rank of major in the National 
Guard. The commission was sent to him through his 
fond little half-breed mother in Oaxaca, who had cried 
so hard when he refused to become a priest. Meantime 
the governor changed the names of offices in the state, 
and Diaz became jefe politico of Tehuantepec. 

Even after the smashing of Conchado's force matters 
grew worse. President Diaz has given an interesting 
picture of his situation at that time : 

86 



FIGHTING IN TEHUANTEPEC 

" My position at Tehuantepec was extremely difficult, 
because I was cut off from communication with the gov- 
ernment and had no other resources but those which I 
could procure in a country completely hostile to me. 
Having to fight the enemy almost daily, my force had 
greatly diminished. Still, when I needed reinforcements, 
I was able to call on a hundred or two hundred men from 
Juchitan [the village whose Indians afterwards tortured 
and murdered his brother Felix], who, however, would 
only serve for a few days at a time, and whom I paid 
for their services at a considerable sacrifice, owing to 
the scarcity of my funds. 

" The enemy were in possession of the roads, which 
were impracticable for travelers, as all were robbed with 
impunity. In order to receive correspondence from Oax- 
aca I had to sally forth at the head of an armed force, 
and this I did about once a week, sometimes going as 
far as seventy-five miles from Tehuantepec. My only 
friends were the parish priest, Mauricio Lopez, a Domin- 
ican friar and native of the Isthmus, of considerable en- 
lightenment, excellent sense, and liberal ideas, and much 
esteemed among the Indians; the local judge, Don Juan 
Avendano, uncle of Don Matias Romero (the celebrated 
Mexican diplomat and statesman) ; and Don Juan Calvo, 
watchmaker and postmaster, and extensively connected. 
Had it not been for these three friends who rendered me 
most important ^ services, and for a secret police which 
I established, I should have remained in absolute igno- 
rance of what was happening around me, for almost the 
entire population was hostile, and my position would have 
been untenable. 

" My situation got worse and worse toward the close 
of the year 1858, because the state government sent me 
neither funds nor troops to take the place of the men 
I had lost. I considered it indispensable to confer with 
the governor in order to describe my position to him. 
Most of the soldiers who remained were bound to me 
by ties of personal affection. One day I marched out 
7 8 7 



DIAZ, MASTER OF MEXICO 

of Tehuantepec at the head of my men as if on one of 
the usual expeditions to receive mail. After reaching a 
certain point I informed the soldiers of the condition of 
affairs, and explained to them my intention of going to 
Oaxaca, promising that I would not abandon them and 
would be back with them inside of five days." 

The leader kept his word to his followers, although 
at a cost of deep heart-pain. His little dusky mother was 
dying when he reached Oaxaca. With wet eyes, and lips 
quivering with emotion, the soldier tore himself from 
her bedside, and before he had reached his men again 
she was dead, sending to him her tender blessing. 

All that Diaz succeeded in getting from the governor 
was a temporary reinforcement of troops under Colonel 
Cristobal Salinas, which returned to Oaxaca after two 
weeks, leaving him worse off than before. He then 
wrote to Juarez, who was at Vera Cruz, and who sent 
him $2,000, this being one of the few cases in which he 
received pecuniary aid from the government. 

" When Colonel Salinas withdrew," says President 
Diaz in his memoirs, " my situation became critical, be- 
cause the Indians of Juchitan began to communicate with 
the disaffected population of Tehuantepec. Fortunately 
an unexpected incident warded off this great danger. 
On January I, 1859, according to custom, hundreds of 
families of Juchitan came to take part in the New Year's 
festivities at Tehuantepec. The report had got abroad 
that I had distributed arms and ammunition to these 
Juchitecos, and that they were carrying them in the bul- 
lock carts in which they returned to their village. So, on 
the way home, the enemy attacked them. I came to their 
assistance, not only with men of Juchitan, but with the 
two companies of my battalion. We killed a great num- 
ber of the enemy, pursuing them into a lagoon till the 
water was up to our waists. 

88 



FIGHTING IN TEHUANTEPEC 

" Considering this to be a favorable opportunity 
thoroughly to win over my suspicious allies, I escorted 
the train of carts on foot, until, close to Juchitan, my 
orderly overtook me with my horse. We passed the 
night in that village and I summoned the inhabitants to 
a gathering at which I explained to them the necessity 
of making short work of the pronunciados [Conservative 
guerrillas]. In this way I succeeded in getting about 
two thousand men to enlist, whom I divided into small 
parties, in order to make a complete hunt for the 
enemy. This was done, with very good results, as many 
of the enemy's guerrillas were killed, many arms seized, 
and, above all, all danger of concerted action between 
the Indians of Juchitan and the Conservatives of Tehuan- 
tepec was averted. " 

On June 17, 1859, Diaz fought a battle at Mixtequilla, 
in which he defeated a large force under Lieutenant-Col- 
onel Espinoza. In recognition of this brilliant action he 
was promoted to the rank of lieutenant-colonel by the state 
government. 

It must be remembered that the young soldier and 
administrator, who was now only a little more than 
twenty-eight years old, was carrying on practically an in- 
dependent government. He gave the enemy no rest. 
With almost incredible energy he made repeated night 
marches across a tangled tropical wilderness, in which 
the monstrous, reptile-infested undergrowths were made 
still more difficult of passage by countless streams and 
swamps, repeatedly attacking and scattering the enemy at 
daybreak. 

He grew thin. His cheeks were hollow, and his great, 
dark eyes shone out of cavernous sockets. The skin of 
his face, tanned to the color of leather by the fierce sun, 
was drawn tight over the bones, and his mouth, now 
shaded by a small black mustache, had acquired a for- 



DIAZ, MASTER OF MEXICO 

midable sternness. No Indian of the surrounding 
jungles was more swift of movement or keen of eye. He 
could walk or run or crawl or climb with the most des- 
perate of the forest-bred. He could trail an enemy with- 
out sleep or food. He seemed to see in the dark. His 
Indian soldiers followed him into the most dangerous 
situations without question, for their broad-shouldered, 
restless, tireless leader seemed to have " second sight " 
and a charmed life. The convinced man is always con- 
vincing, and the stubborn heroism of Diaz made heroes 
of his Indian soldiers. 

It was in this time of ceaseless fighting, when the 
leader had not only to march night and 'day with his 
men, and at the same time ferret out and defeat the plots 
of the enemy in Tehuantepec not to speak of the prob- 
lems of civil administration and revenue that Diaz came 
near meeting an appalling fate which befell his brother 
Felix years afterwards. 

As a consequence of the publication in the depart- 
ment of Tehuantepec of the Laws of Reform issued by 
Juarez at Vera Cruz, and which established civil mar- 
riage and civil registry, separating Church and State, na- 
tionalizing church property, secularizing cemeteries and 
sweeping away the temporal power of the Church, the 
Indians of Juchitan, believing that an attack was being 
made on their religion, rose against the state government 
of Oaxaca. These Indians and the people of a single 
ward of the city of Tehuantepec were the only allies of 
Diaz. In his hapless and isolated position he could not 
afford to lose the strength of Juchitan, and he was not 
strong enough to meet its challenge by force. Here he 
gave another illustration of his marvelous capacity for 
mastering difficult and perilous problems by sheer pluck 
and reasonableness. If modern Mexico is largely a mon- 

90 






FIGHTING IN TEHUANTEPEC 

ument of the genius of Diaz, it is impossible to under- 
stand the working out of such a vast result in such fear- 
fully unfavorable conditions without considering the 
intelligent simplicity, iron will, and common-sense tact 
displayed by the young ruler of Tehuantepec when the 
friendly Indians of Juchitan revolted and it seemed as 
though the enemies of the republic were about to destroy 
him. 

It is better to tell the story in the terse, modest lan- 
guage of President Diaz himself : 

" When informed of the uprising, I went to Juchitan, 
accompanied by my friend, the Liberal friar Mauricio 
Lopez, an aide, and an orderly. Arriving at Juchitan, I 
left my companions on the outskirts of the village, intend- 
ing to reach the house of Don Alejandro de Gyves, an old 
resident and rich merchant, a Frenchman, much esteemed 
and well connected. My intention was to send for the 
ringleaders and have a talk with them, in order to win 
them over. But before I had reached the house of de 
Gyves I met a party of tipsy rioters who carried arms. 
On seeing me, knowing I served the government against 
which they had risen, they were about to shoot me; but 
I succeeded in restraining them, assuring them that I was 
their friend. We entered into a conversation and I suc- 
ceeded in calming them. 

" I assured them that I had no armed force with me. 
I told them who my companions were and where I had 
left them, urging the Indians to go and see for themselves. 
This they did, and when they returned to the plaza with 
my companions, Fray Mauricio, speaking in the Zapotec 
tongue, assured them that the law of civil registry [it 
was this that had stirred the Indians most] was in no 
way antagonistic to the faith, for if it had been, he would 
have been the first to take up arms against it. 

" Fray Mauricio was interrupted by Apolonio Jimenez, 
one of the village leaders, who some years later murdered 



DIAZ, MASTER OF MEXICO 

my brother Felix, and who proposed to his fellow Indians 
to kill the friar and myself then and there, because, if 
the friar were allowed to go on speaking, he would surely 
succeed in winning over the people. But one of the 
older Indians, who was much respected in the locality, 
severely reprimanded Jimenez for his proposal. There- 
upon Fray Mauricio was allowed to finish his speech, 
and the prediction of Jimenez proved true, for all agreed 
that they had done wrong and would abandon their hos- 
tile attitude. In this way I surmounted one of the grav- 
est difficulties which confronted me during the period of 
my administration on the Isthmus of Tehuantepec." 

Gradually Diaz sank a victim to malaria. Even his 
iron constitution could not withstand the shocks, strains, 
and privations of perpetual warfare in a country of tropi- 
cal morasses. He kept on his feet as long as he could 
stagger about, but finally he took to his bed. Just then 
the enemy made a sudden attack upon the city and at- 
tempted a siege of the barracks in which the Constitu- 
tionalist leader lay racked with fever. Diaz rose from 
his bed, seized his sword, and, cheering his men, drove 
the attacking forces back. Then he fainted and was 
carried back unconscious to his bed by his soldiers. 

In the closing months of 1859 the future seemed very 
dark. Cobos had again attacked the city of Oaxaca and 
driven out Governor Ordaz, who had established his gov- 
ernment in the mountains of Ixtlan. Diaz was now cut 
off from both the general government and the state gov- 
ernment and had to rely on such taxes as he could himself 
collect from a hostile and sullen population, but he paid 
his soldiers daily, and he also paid the judge, the master 
mason of the town, and the schoolmaster. He established 
a sort of foundry for the manufacture of bullets and also 
drained the surrounding swamps. 

About that time an American man-of-war visited 

92 



FIGHTING IN TEHUANTEPEC 

Ventoso and some of its officers went to Tehuantepec, 
where they were entertained by Diaz. During the 
banquet the American officers drank freely of the wine 
served to them, particularly the surgeon. Presently one 
of the officers made a speech, during which, looking the 
Mexican leader in the face, he declared that the United 
States did not usually intrust such posts to mere youths, 
who had scarcely smelled gunpowder. At this, one of 
Diaz's companions answered that the Mexican commander 
might be young, yet probably not one of the Americans 
present had had, like him, the honor of carrying about a 
bullet in his body for years. The American surgeon 
thereupon arose unsteadily, fumbled at Diaz's wounded 
side, and exclaimed, " By Heaven, it's true ! I'll extract 
the bullet right now." 

Diaz stood up smiling. 

" I thank you," he said with grave courtesy, " but you 
have had a little too much champagne for such work 
to-day. You may take out the bullet to-morrow." 

On the following day, nearly two years after the battle 
of Ixcapa, a large musket ball was drawn from the un- 
healed wound. 

On the very same day Diaz received an order from 
Juarez's government in Vera Cruz to conduct, at all cost 
or risk, from Minatitlan, on the Atlantic coast, to Ventoso, 
on the Pacific coast, a cargo of armament, consisting of 
8,000 rifles, some carbines and sabers, and a large 
case of ammunition, including 800 kegs of gunpowder 
and 100 pigs of lead, all consigned to the white- 
haired General Juan Alvarez, who was gallantly 
maintaining the Constitutionalist struggle in the state 
of Guerrero. In spite of the serious surgical opera- 
tion which he had just undergone, Diaz rose from his 
bed, mounted his horse, and set off for Minatitlan. A 

93 



DIAZ, MASTER OF MEXICO 

single day's delay would have meant the loss of the cargo, 
which was precfous to the cause of the republic beyond 
words to express. It was a long and terrible journey 
during which the enemy vainly tried to capture Diaz 
and his cargo, but he surmounted all difficulties and 
succeeded in temporarily hiding his cargo in the forest 
near Juchitan. 

Meanwhile the Liberal general Ignacio Mejia was 
completely defeated at Teotitlan, and Cobos, having again 
gained possession of the city of Oaxaca, sent out a col- 
umn and captured Tehuantepec. After Diaz had suc- 
ceeded in concealing the arms and ammunition intrusted 
to him, he decided to recapture Tehuantepec from the 
enemy. His hands were blistered by awkward attempts 
at rowing on the rivers he had traversed and he was still 
suffering from his wound, but he was as eager as ever 
to continue the fight for the republic. Taking a force of 
armed Juchitan Indians, he made a detour toward Ven- 
toso and then moved rapidly on Tehuantepec. Just be- 
fore daybreak on the morning of November 25, 1859, 
he saw the outpost of the enemy on the road. 

c< When I perceived their campfires," he says, " I dis- 
mounted, left my horse with the men, and, accompanied 
by four officers remarkable for their courage, I stealthily 
penetrated into a cornfield, when we were effectively con- 
cealed until we reached a point where the outpost was. 
The surprise was complete and successful, for we cap- 
tured all the men of the outpost without firing a single 
shot. Not one escaped. 

' Then we arranged our forces in two columns, one 
to attack each of the hills occupied by the enemy. I re- 
tained under my own command enough men to attack 
the barracks. The signal for the attack was the reveille of 
the enemy. When the band inside of the barracks began 
to play, I advanced with my forces along one of the 

94 



FIGHTING IN TEHUANTEPEC 

streets radiating from the plaza, and was inside of the 
barracks before anyone could retreat and give the alarm. 
The surprise was so complete that we found the guard in 
the doorway, still lying down. In the same way we 
surprised the men in their sleeping places. After an ex- 
change of shots, not lasting half an hour, the barracks 
was mine and I was able to protect the column of Captain 
Cortes, which was descending from one of the hills, its 
commander having been seriously wounded; and I was 
also able to detach a party to support Lieutenant-Colonel 
Gallegos in effecting the occupation of the other hill." 

The cavalry of the enemy had been sent out from 
Tehuantepec on the Juchitan road to repel this attack, but 
when it returned to the city it found Diaz in possession. 

This victory of 300 men over 1,000 meant the safety 
of the large shipment of supplies for Alvarez's fight- 
ing patriots in Guerrero. Diaz had received authority 
from Juarez's government to destroy the cargo, but he 
replied that he would keep it to fight the enemy. He 
had actually captured hundreds of arms in addition to 
the cargo. 

Soon after this the cargo was taken from its hiding 
place, carried to Ventoso, and safely shipped to Acapulco 
in charge of Jose Maria Romero, a brother of the dis- 
tinguished Don Matias Romero. When the news of this 
successful enterprise reached Vera Cruz, Juarez, taking 
on himself the power which really belonged to the gov- 
ernor -of Oaxaca, commissioned Diaz as a colonel of the 
National Guard. 

Not only did the young hero show in this time of 
peril and uncertainty the qualities of a brilliant, discerning, 
and self-sacrificing soldier, but his moral courage grew 
with the difficulty of his position. Diaz discovered at 
one time that his men were being picked off in the streets 

95 



DIAZ, MASTER OF MEXICO 

of the city by old followers of Cobos, who, defeated at 
Jalapa, had returned to their homes. He had a few of 
the treacherous assassins shot. Then there came a com- 
munication from Governor Ordaz, " If you shoot any 
more, I will cause you to be prosecuted." Diaz had re- 
ported the execution of five men convicted of second of- 
fenses. Upon receiving the Governor's stern message, he 
answered : " You can have me put on trial if you please, 
because if I catch any others in the act I will do the same 
thing. I have already pardoned some of them and they 
mistake my leniency for weakness." A. few days later 
he had another group shot, and reported the event to 
the governor, who, however, sent no reprimand. That 
ended the assassinations. He could be hard, even fierce, 
when necessary, but he governed, when possible, gently, 
reasonably, flexibly. 

In the midst of his exhausting and perplexing work, 
Diaz was visited by the Abbe Brasseur de Bourbourg, the 
distinguished French archaeologist, who wrote this pen 
picture of him : 

" His aspect and bearing strongly arrested my atten- 
tion. He presented the most perfect native type I had 
seen in my travels. I imagined that I had before me 
Cocijopig in his youth, or the hero Cuauhtemoc as I had 
pictured him to myself. His appearance of distinction, 
his noble features slightly bronzed by the sun, seemed to 
embody the most salient traits of the ancient Mexican 
nobility. Porfirio Diaz is still young. He was a student 
at Oaxaca and had not yet finished his course when the 
civil war broke out and he embraced a career of arms. 
. . . After that interview I had occasion to meet him 
nearly every day, for with two or three other officers of 
the garrison he took his food at the house of my host. 
I therefore had opportunities for studying his personality 
and character. Quite aside from his political ideas, I 



FIGHTING IN TEHUANTEPEC 

can only say that the qualities which I discovered in him 
in our daily intercourse confirmed the good opinion of 
him which I had formed at our first meeting, and it would 
certainly be a very good thing if the other provinces of 
Mexico were governed by men of his stamp." 



CHAPTER IX 

DIAZ RESCUES HIS NATIVE CITY 

IN spite of his victories, Diaz was restless and worried. 
He had held Tehuantepec for the Constitutional republic 
against war, treachery, and sickness, and was the secure 
master of the Isthmus. But it vexed his mind and chal- 
lenged his patriotism that while the government of Juarez 
was ignominiously penned up at Vera Cruz, where the 
great Zapotec continued to resist the Church and its army 
under young Miramon, the city of Oaxaca should be. in 
the possession of the Spanish hirelings, Marcelino and 
Jose Maria Cobos, while the legitimate state government 
skulked in the mountains. 

So, on January 5, 1860, the impatient leader set out 
from Tehuantepec, resolved on rescuing his native city 
from the enemy. His force was a band of Juchitan 
Indians, naturally drunken and quarrelsome villagers, 
whom he had armed, equipped, and drilled. There were 
300 of these Indians, besides what was left of the Na- 
tional Guard, about 100 men. 

At first he moved toward the village of Tlacolula, in 
the vain hope of uniting with the forces of the fugitive 
state government. After a two weeks' march he reached 
the lands of the Xaga hacienda, near the ruins of Mitla 
the noble and unexplained memorials of a vanished race, 
pride and mystery of the historic valley which gave Diaz 
birth and here he came in sight of a body of the enemy's 



DIAZ RESCUES HIS NATIVE CITY 

troops. It was the van of a column of 1,300 men which 
had started out for Tlacolula to look for Diaz and 
his men; but Diaz had reached Tlacolula first. The van 
tried to conceal itself in a little wood. The vigilant 
Liberal commander detected the cavalry scouts through 
his field glasses. The van was commanded by Colonel 
Antonio Canalize, and the main body was led by the re- 
doubtable Marcelino Cobos himself. 

In the very sight of ruined Mitla, whose carved and 
crumbling walls proclaimed the grandeur of ancient Mex- 
ican civilization, the militia colonel, less than thirty years 
old, had now to fight for modern Mexico and her liberties 
against a force more than three times greater than his 
own, commanded by a hired Spaniard. It was an un- 
equal fight, but Diaz, almost in sight of his birthplace, ac- 
cepted it without hesitation. The Juchitecos, who were 
opposed to fighting away from their own village, became 
insubordinate. They declared that they had already ful- 
filled their agreement in going as far as the neighborhood 
of Oaxaca, and that they proposed to go home to Juchi- 
tan. Diaz remonstrated, but in vain. Then he decided 
to give them a lesson. Forming his forces in line he 
gave them an ordinary tactical order. It was obeyed by 
the Oaxacans. The rebellious Indians of Juchitan re- 
mained motionless. The young colonel pretended not to 
see the general disobedience, but turned his attention to 
an insubordinate sergeant who stood close to him when 
the order was given. He scolded the sergeant, knocked 
him down, and gave him a thorough kicking. Whereat 
the Juchitecos became earnest and observant soldiers 
again. 

" I arranged my force," says Diaz, " in the following 
order : In the van, the men from Chiapas ; in the center, 

99 



DIAZ, MASTER OF MEXICO 

the men from Juchitan; and in the rear, the men of the 
National Guard" ordering those in the rear line in a loud 
voice, so that the Juchitecos could not fail to hear, to run 
their bayonets through any man who lagged in the 
march." 

An hour later the van of the enemy attacked the little 
Liberal force, but was driven back. 

In repulsing this assault Diaz gave his soldiers an il- 
lustration of the power which one trained and intelligent 
man can exert in battle. Taking a musket in his hands 
he aimed carefully at the advancing troops. His first 
shot killed Colonel Canalize. Diaz took a second careful 
shot, and Captain Monterrubio, the commander of the 
first squadron, tumbled dead from his horse. These two 
shots completely demoralized Canalizo's column. 

Diaz occupied a hill between Xaga and Mitla, and 
there the infantry and artillery of Cobos attacked him 
savagely. The men ot Juchitan fleet in a body and could 
not be stopped. In spite of that, the handful of soldiers 
of the National Guard, led by Diaz, dislodged Cobos; 
but he returned to the attack, and the reduced force 
of Liberals was unable to withstand the overwhelming 
numbers of the enemy. Diaz had to abandon his posi- 
tion, spiking his guns as he retired. He had left only 
seventy-two soldiers of the second Oaxaca battalion. It 
was a defeat, yet even the Clerical newspapers in Oaxaca 
praised the small band of patriots for the gallant fight 
they made. 

Diaz moved swiftly toward the mountains to join a 
Liberal column from Ixtlan, where Governor Ordaz was. 
On the next day, January 23, 1860, Marcelino Cobos, 
having again joined Jose Maria Cobos, the leaders of 
the enemy's forces decided not to wait for Governor 
Ordaz and his troops to descend into the plain, but, elated 

100 



DIAZ RESCUES HIS NATIVE CITY 

by their victory over Diaz, they rushed forward to en- 
gage the state troops among the foothills. There was 
a battle at Santo Domingo del Valle. The Cobos army 
was defeated, but Governor Ordaz was mortally wounded 
and died a few hours later. 

Three days later, on January 26th, Diaz joined the 
state forces with his men. Governor Ordaz being 
dead, the command was assumed by General Cristobal 
Salinas. No attempt was made to pursue the Cobos 
brothers, who retreated to Oaxaca. 

Smarting under his defeat, Diaz insisted on besieg- 
ing Oaxaca at once. The siege was established, and the 
Liberals possessed themselves of some outlying posi- 
tions ; but their operations were hampered by dissensions 
as to the governorship between Colonel Salinas and Don 
Marcos Perez, who claimed to be acting governor. 
Juarez, at Vera Cruz, heard of these squabbles and sent 
General Vincente Rosas Landa, who on February 12, 
1860, took the supreme military command and directed 
the siege. After three months of sluggish operations, 
Landa heard that a force had been sent against him from 
Mexico City, and considering it impracticable to take 
Oaxaca, he abandoned the siege and retreated across the 
mountains, finally reaching Juarez at Vera Cruz. 

During this retreat in the hills the feeling of the 
soldiers was so bitter that some of them planned to 
kill Landa, but Diaz defeated the plot by making it 
known that he would defend the general with his own 
life. At Vera Cruz, Landa complained to Juarez that 
the Oaxacan officers were incapable, but the Indian Presi- 
dent had a surprise in store for him. Hardly had the 
general uttered his complaint than Juarez informed him 
that these incompetent officers had won a very impor- 
tant victory over the Conservative leader Trejo, in the 

101 



DIAZ, MASTER OF MEXICO 

foothills of the Ixtlan mountains, and had sent word of 
the fight so swiftly as to beat Landa in his journey. 

This victory made possible the reorganization of the 
Liberal forces and a resumption of the siege of Oaxaca 
under command of Colonel Salinas. On August 2, 1860, 
the Liberal army again arrived in sight of Oaxaca. 
Three days later there was a general battle before the 
city. The besieged forces came out and opened the fight. 
Here once more Colonel Diaz distinguished himself in 
action. He commanded a division which engaged the 
center of the enemy's line and put it to flight, notwith- 
standing an obstinate resistance. An old soldier who 
saw Diaz in the thick of the action that day says that 
he never looked upon a more terrible countenance. His 
features, usually so calm and set, were wrought into an 
almost indescribable expression of fierceness. His eyes 
seemed to blaze. His deep voice rang out repeatedly 
over the battlefield as he led his soldiers against the des- 
perate foe. The enemy retreated into the city. The 
battle was continued all day, but it was not until mid- 
night that the Cobos headquarters were occupied. The 
Liberals took 300 prisoners and large quantities of am- 
munition and other supplies. 

President Diaz has written the following description 
of his part in the taking of Oaxaca : 

" With 700 men I joined Colonel Salinas. On the 
following day, August 4, 1860, we reached the hacienda 
of San Luis, about two kilometers from the city of 
Oaxaca, where we passed the night. At dawn the next 
day I discovered that there was in our rear a strong out- 
post of the enemy, which would have prevented us from 
returning to the mountains if we had attempted it. This 
outpost consisted of a half of the Ninth Battalion, 
commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Manuel Gonzalez 

1 02 



DIAZ RESCUES HIS NATIVE CITY 

[afterwards President of Mexico]. I sent against this 
outpost a force commanded by two captains, who dis- 
lodged the enemy and forced them to join the main body. 
Just at that time Marcelino Cobos was repulsed at the 
hacienda of Dolores, and, simultaneously, I was joined 
by additional troops, when General Jose Maria Cobos, 
with the main body of his forces, three batteries of artil- 
lery and the remains of troops defeated at Dolores, made 
a determined attack on my position at the hacienda of 
San Luis. We on our side made a general advance, en- 
gaged Cobos on the plain, captured his heaviest guns, 
and obliged him to retreat into the city. 

" Colonel Salinas then ordered that I should try to 
reach the Plaza de Armas. Overcoming a tenacious 
resistance in the streets along which I had to pass in 
order to reach the plaza, losing many soldiers and offi- 
cers, and being wounded myself by a bullet which dis- 
abled my right leg, without penetrating the bone, I 
succeeded in dislodging the enemy from the Plaza de 
Armas, the palace, the cathedral, and the convent of La 
Concepcion ; so that only the convents of Santo Domin- 
go and El Carmen remained in their possession. 

" I immediately began to bore through two lines of 
houses in the direction of the convent of Santo Domingo, 
so that my forces, in approaching, might be protected 
from the enemy's fire. My purpose was to rush to the 
attack from the houses opposite to the convent, and to 
protect the attacking forces with men stationed on the 
roofs of the houses. This operation took the whole of 
the day and part of the night of August 5, 1860. Colonel 
Salinas was now with me, and the operation was under- 
taken with his approval. Things had advanced so far 
that all was in readiness for the assault at daybreak on 
August 6, when we learned that the enemy had knocked 
down a portion of wall of the convent garden and had 
escaped. 

" As I had been suffering from a wound since nine 
o'clock of the previous morning, and unable to walk, I 
8 103 



DIAZ, MASTER OF MEXICO 

had been on horseback throughout the day and the night, 
and was unable* to stand upright, much less to fight." 

When Juarez, at Vera Cruz, read the dispatches of 
Colonel Salinas, together with newspaper and private de- 
scriptions of the battle, he was deeply moved, and ex- 
claimed with much feeling : " Porfirio es el hombre de 
Oaxaca " (" Porfirio is the man of Oaxaca "). The hero 
was then advanced to the rank of colonel in the regular 
army. 

Diaz's foot was disabled and he had to limp for a 
long time, yet he was appointed commander of the gar- 
rison of Oaxaca by his old master, Don Marcos Perez, 
now governor of the state. He made a determined 
effort to keep on his feet and attend to his duties, but was 
forced to go to bed, and did not rise from it until Sep- 
tember 15, 1860. While thus weakened by the bullet he 
received in the assault on Oaxaca, he was stricken with 
typhus fever, and there were times when it was thought 
he could not live. 

After the battle in which Cobos escaped from Oax- 
aca, Captain Felix Diaz, the younger brother of Porfirio 
Diaz, criticised Colonel Salinas for failing to pursue the 
enemy. Angered by this, Colonel Salinas sent Felix Diaz 
with a mere handful of men and scanty ammunition to 
overtake the forces of the formidable guerrilla leader. 
The captain overtook Cobos at La Seda and defeated 
him, taking ten cannon and many prisoners, among them 
about 400 dragoons. These men were won over to the 
Liberal side and later on became the basis of a new 
regiment, known as the Oaxaca Lancers. 

At the beginning of the War of the Reforms, Felix 
Diaz was serving in the Clerical army. He had risen to 
the rank of lieutenant-colonel. It may seem puzzling 

104 



DIAZ RESCUES HIS NATIVE CITY 

that two honest and patriotic brothers should have been 
fighting on opposite sides when the fate of their country 
was at stake ; but as Felix was in the army when Santa 
Anna returned to power in 1853, and as the entire army 
recognized Santa Anna, he merely followed the example 
of his comrades. 

"While I was at Tehuantepec in 1858 and 1859," 
says President Diaz in his memoirs, " my brother was 
much distressed that we should be on opposite sides ; and 
yet he did not feel that he could violate his fealty to the 
government. About that time or a little later, the news- 
papers published a false report of my death in battle in 
the state of Oaxaca; and when my brother saw this an- 
nouncement he resolved to abandon the army of the Con- 
servatives. At that time he was on the staff of General 
Leonardo Marquez, * the Tiger of Tacubaya.' Felix 
asked for leave of absence, and later on joined me before 
Oaxaca in March, 1860, when we were besieging the 
city under Rosas Landa. He enlisted and ever since that 
time served the Liberal party." 



CHAPTER X 

DEATH GRAPPLE OF CHURCH AND STATE 

WHILE the body and soul of Porfirio Diaz were being 
hammered out on the anvil of events in preparation for 
the imperious part they were to play in the practical 
regeneration and dominion of Mexico, civil war raged 
throughout the country. 

It was a conflict not only between Church and State, 
but, in many senses, a repetition of the struggle between 
Cortes and the original inhabitants, with the aboriginal 
blood on one side and the European blood on the other. 
It was a struggle in which the monk appeared, cross in 
hand, at the head of charging troops ; in which the curse 
of the Church was sounded from a multitude of altars; 
in which the treasures of centuries were torn from 
walls and altars, fighting Indian patriots forcing their 
way into dim, hallowed interiors, gleaming with gold, 
silver, many-colored jewels, marvelous old carvings, 
embroideries rivaling those of the Vatican; painted and 
sculptured Christs and Madonnas; gilded saints, robes 
heavy with incrustations of precious stones; historic 
shrines, beautiful and soft with the dust and tarnish of 
ages. 

Through these scenes of ancient ecclesiastical gran- 
deur, over the ranges of mountains and across the val- 
leys, with their mud-walled patriot villages, massive 
churches and vast seignorial haciendas, moved the regu- 

106 



GRAPPLE OF CHURCH AND STATE 

lar troops and the irregular bands of the warring Church, 
many of them commanded by foreign adventurers, and 
the ragged Indian forces of the Constitutionalist govern- 
ment, for whom the prayers of the masses of the people 
were offered night and day. 

Yet Juarez and his government still held the city of 
Vera Cruz, and although the Constitutionalist govern- 
ment was cut off from communication with its armies 
in the interior, there was a marked strategic advantage 
in a country without railways in having possession of 
the seaport leading to the national capital, the principal 
gateway of Mexican commerce. 

Juarez was not a soldier, nor did he ever in his 
career assume a military function. He was always " the 
man in the black coat," standing unmoved and immov- 
able for the Constitution, never doubting that the cause 
of the republic would ultimately succeed, and demanding 
from the civilized world sympathy and recognition for 
a nation founded on principles of justice and equality 
and determined to be free. 

It is hard to give any accurate idea of the ferocity of 
the warfare which desolated Mexico. Doubtless more 
than 200,000 men were actually engaged in fighting, 
and at times the struggle became barbarous in its char- 
acter. The guerrillas of the Church were pitiless and 
stained their arms with outright massacre. Not once 
did the patient Juarez give the signal for reprisals. Hor- 
rified, and at times stunned, by reports of atrocities, he 
insisted that the Constitutional cause, which was the 
cause of law, should be maintained only by civilized 
methods of warfare. 

France, England, and Spain had recognized the 
usurping government at the capital ; this, notwithstand- 
ing treacheries, cold-blooded butcheries, and outright 

107 



DIAZ, MASTER OF MEXICO 

robberies, for which the organized enemies of the re- 
public were responsible. 

The handsome and brilliant stripling Miramon and 
his terrible companion, General Marquez, were in full 
control of the Clerical forces. At the beginning of the 
struggle Miramon had attempted in vain to wrest Vera 
Cruz from Juarez, although the wretched walls of that 
city were scarcely a protection against ordinary bullets. 
While Miramon was absent from the capital, word was 
sent to the Liberal general, Santos Degollado, that the 
Liberals were ready to rise against their oppressors in 
the City of Mexico. Having already occupied the cities 
of Leon, Aquascalientes, Guanajuato, and Oueretaro, 
Degollado advanced with 6,000 men, relying on as- 
sistance from within the capital. A powerful Clerical 
force, led by General Marquez, fell upon Degollado's 
little army at Tacubaya, in the suburbs of the capital, 
and the Liberals were defeated, losing all their artillery 
and munitions of war. 

Then a fearful thing happened. The whole corps 
of Liberal officers, who had yielded themselves as pris- 
oners of war, together with some medical students who 
were humanely attending the wounded of both armies 
on the battlefield, and many civilians seized in neighbor- 
ing houses all these were executed without trial. The 
number of men thus murdered was fifty-three. Because 
of this cold-blooded murder Marquez was ever after- 
wards known as " the Tiger of Tacubaya." He claimed 
that he was acting under Miramon's written order, but 
Miramon's partisans have always insisted that Marquez 
went beyond his authority when he executed civilians on 
the field. In any case, no one has ever dared to defend 
the massacre of Tacubaya. 

That this crime against civilization itself was a de- 
108 



GRAPPLE OF CHURCH AND STATE 

liberate attempt to terrorize the Constitutionalists into 
submission is shown by the order of Miramon to Mar- 
quez : 

' This afternoon, and under Your Excellency's most 
strict responsibility, Your Excellency will give the order 
for all the prisoners holding the grade of officers to be 
shot, informing me of the number which have fallen 
under this lot. MIRAMON." 

Following the atrocious command, Marquez issued 
this proclamation : 

" LEONARDO MARQUEZ TO THE PEOPLE OF 
MEXICO : 

" Know ye, that in virtue of the faculties with which 
I am invested, I have resolved to -publish the following 
decree : 

" i. Benito Juarez, and all who have obeyed him or 
recognized his government, are traitors to their country, 
as well as all who have aided him by any means, secretly 
or indirectly, no matter how insignificantly. 

" 2. All persons coming under the heads of the pre- 
ceding article shall be shot immediately on their appre- 
hension, without further investigation than the identifi- 
cation of their persons. MARQUEZ." 

Having secured $300,000 from the Church in Mexico 
City, Miramon went out again with an army to capture 
Vera Cruz and the Juarez government. He had bought 
two steam vessels at Havana and armed them, so that 
Juarez might be simultaneously attacked by sea and land. 
In this hour of supreme danger Juarez turned to the 
commander of a squadron of the United States that 
government had refused to recognize the authority of 
the Clerical government and asked that the papers of 

109 



DIAZ, MASTER OF MEXICO 

the two armed % ships should be examined. Miramon's 
vessels were seized by the United States, taken to New 
Orleans, and, being pronounced to be semipiratical, were 
not permitted to molest Vera Cruz. After Miramon had 
bombarded Vera Cruz for five days he gave up the siege 
and returned to the capital. 

It was nearly four months after, when everything 
seemed dark, and when the United States alone among 
the great nations turned a friendly countenance upon 
the hard-pressed Constitutionalists, that Juarez issued 
his famous decrees, completing the Laws of the Re- 
forms, sweeping away every vestige of power, privilege, 
and wealth from the Church. This stubborn courage, 
shown by a full-blooded Indian civilian in the face of 
what seemed to be overwhelming force, blessed by the 
Vatican and countenanced by powerful European gov- 
ernments, won many wavering sympathies to the side 
of Juarez. 

In contrast with the simple and sublime attitude of 
Juarez, Miramon showed himself to be a great criminal 
who could violate the law of nations without hesitation. 
Having in the summer of 1860 retired from the presi- 
dency in favor of Don Jose Ignacio Pavon, President 
of the Supreme Court of Justice, he caused that gentle- 
man at once to appoint a committee of notables, who 
promptly authorized Miramon to continue in power. But 
by November of that year Miramon found himself in 
need of money. Knowing that there was a sum of 
$660,000 in the British Legation in the capital, under 
the seal of the British minister Juarez had deposited 
this money on account of the English bondholders' debt 
Miramon deliberately violated the legation, broke the 
seals, and carried off the money. 

Again, when the young military dictator needed 
no 



GRAPPLE OF CHURCH AND STATE 

funds, he turned to a Swiss adventurer in the capital, 
named Jecker, a pseudo-banker, and borrowed from 
him $750,000 in cash, together with securities of the 
pretended value of $740,000 more. In return for this 
small loan Miramon caused his government to issue to 
Jecker $15,000,000 in bonds, payable in eight or ten 
years, with six per cent annual interest, a large part of 
these bonds being acceptable at their face value in the 
customhouses of Mexico. 

There was nothing new in the criminal methods of 
the Clerical government. As early as September, 1859, 
Marquez seized $600,000 at Guadalajara, which the 
British minister described to his government as " an act 
of common or uncommon highway robbery.' 7 

Nevertheless, however Miramon, Marquez, and those 
whom they served might dishonor their arms and dis- 
credit their pretensions before the world by undisguised 
robberies and assassinations, while the Constitutionalist 
government served its cause by honorable means, in the 
face of almost incredible temptations to answer barbarity 
with barbarity, there was a vigorous and sleepless cam- 
paign of slander carried on against Juarez and his fol- 
lowers throughout Europe, where a powerful and intel- 
ligent conspiracy was being formed against republican 
institutions in Mexico. It was even said that Juarez 
had bought the recognition of the United States by 
secretly surrendering to that government two of the 
northern provinces. 

So relentlessly did Europe refuse to recognize or 
acknowledge the widely different characters and pur- 
poses of the two forces struggling for mastery in Mexico, 
that, in March, 1860, the British Government, through 
one of its naval officers, had the effrontery to tender its 
good offices in an attempt to reconcile the differences 

in 



DIAZ, MASTER OF MEXICO 

between Miramon and Juarez. A similar attempt to 
compromise the issues of the war was made a month 
later by France through its consul at Vera Cruz. So 
skillfully managed was this attempt to authorize Euro- 
pean intervention for the Clerical party had secret 
agents working at the principal European courts that 
even Degollado, the Liberal general whose surrendered 
officers were murdered without a hearing at Tacubaya, 
was seduced into an indorsement of the cunning plan to 
suppress the Constitutional republic by placing the des- 
tiny of Mexico in the hands of the ministers of monarchi- 
cal Europe. 

Even when General Degollado disgraced the Liberal 
name by seizing about a million and a quarter of dol- 
lars, belonging to foreign merchants and being escorted 
by Constitutional soldiers from Queretaro to Tam- 
pico for shipment to Europe, notwithstanding the fact 
that Juarez, as soon as he heard of the robbery, or- 
dered the stolen money returned to its owners, and 
afterwards, by decree, provided funds to replace all 
that had been lost, Degollado's stupid offense was em- 
blazoned abroad, while the story of Juarez's prompt 
restitution was either suppressed or twisted into an evi- 
dence of cowardice. 

From the very beginning of the struggle to over- 
throw Juarez, the Church had secured the active sym- 
pathy, not only of the Vatican, but of France; and Don 
Juan Almonte the illegitimate son of Morelos, the pa- 
triot priest of the original war for independence who 
had been Santa Anna's agent in the scandalous sale of 
the Mesilla country to the United States, had by the 
authority of Miramon and his government concluded a 
treaty with Spain, recognizing and validating prepos- 
terous financial claims of Spanish subjects in return for 

112 



GRAPPLE OF CHURCH AND STATE 

the support of Spain in Europe, although these very 
claims had been indignantly repudiated by President 
Comonfort. 

As the Liberal army in the north grew stronger, as 
the results of Liberal victories in the south made them- 
selves manifest, and the usurpers grew weaker, Mira- 
mon's government degenerated at times into downright 
brigandage. Forced loans were succeeded by open plun- 
dering. The Clerical leaders began to quarrel. 

Then a Liberal army, under the command of Gen-- 
eral Jesus Gonzalez Ortega, recaptured Guadalajara, 
which had been in the hands of the Clericals since Juarez 
abandoned it as his capital. Miramon went forth with 
his forces to check the advancing Liberals, but was driven 
back. Finally, on December 22, 1860, there was a de- 
cisive battle fought at Calpulalpam, near the border of 
the state of Tlaxcala, not far from the City of Mexico. 
Something like 20,000 men in all took part in this 
memorable engagement. Miramon commanded on the 
one side and General Ortega on the other. Colonel Diaz, 
at the head of a division, made a desperate effort to reach 
General Ortega in time to take part in the fight. He 
almost wept with disappointment when he learned that 
the battle had been fought without him. 

Miramon's army was smashed and swept from the 
field. Miramon himself reached the capital, but found 
himself powerless, as the tide had turned against him 
and it was impossible for him to have his authority recog- 
nized. In despair he turned over the government to the 
city council and fled, taking with him a large part of the 
money he had stolen from the British Legation. The 
disorders in the capital were suppressed by General 
Berriozabal, one of Miramon's prisoners of war, until 
General Ortega's arrival on Christmas day. Then, on 



DIAZ, MASTER OF MEXICO 

the first day of 1861, 28,000 Constitutionalist soldiers 
marched into the City of Mexico and took possession. 
A great popular ovation awaited Juarez and his minis- 
ters when they entered the capital on January n, 1861. 

Among the first acts of President Juarez after he 
reached the capital was the expulsion from Mexico of 
the ministers of Spain, Guatemala, and Ecuador, and the 
papal nuncio, Monsignor Clementi. He also exiled 
two archbishops and four bishops. The President re- 
organized the Cabinet, but Melchor Ocampo, his minister 
of the interior, not agreeing with Juarez's policy, re- 
signed and withdrew to his hacienda in the state of 
Michoacan, where he was surprised in June by a guerrilla 
band and murdered by the command of Marquez. 

On March 9, 1861, the Congress declared Juarez to 
be the Constitutional President for the term ending No- 
vember 8, 1865. 

By authority of the Congress, Santos Degollado 
went out with a slender column to find the slayers of 
Ocampo, but he was captured by the guerrillas and exe- 
cuted thirteen days after the death of Ocampo in the 
same place at Monte de las Cruces. Don Leandro Valle 
was also defeated, taken prisoner, and executed by Mar- 
quez on the same spot where Degollado was slain. But 
the bushwhacking forces of Marquez were repeatedly 
punished by Liberal generals. 



CHAPTER XI 

DIAZ IN A TALKATIVE CONGRESS 

JUAREZ had won his great fight for the disestablish- 
ment of the Church, but Mexico was not yet a nation, 
save in name. Europe laughed at him as he struggled 
with a noisy, jealous, and obstructive Congress in the 
midst of a land almost without commerce, industry, or 
credit, swarming everywhere with bandits and kidnap- 
ers, and still vexed in the mountains by armed raiders 
under Marquez, Cobos, and Tomas Mejia. 

The chaotic condition of the country was reflected 
in the blatherskite clamor of the deputies, who quar- 
reled day after day with each other and with the Presi- 
dent. The reactionary elements, defeated in the field; 
the various states, accustomed to regard themselves as 
absolute sovereignties ; the intriguants of foreign govern- 
ments, and the extreme radicals, pressing for violent 
measures all found direct or indirect voices in the Con- 
gress, fifty-one of whose deputies actually signed a peti- 
tion asking Juarez to retire from his office, although the 
remarkable proposal was denounced by the governors 
and legislatures of all the states. 

In this extraordinary law-making body, where trai- 
tors and patriots wrangled in debate, sat Porfirio Diaz, 
who had been elected to represent the district of Ixtlan, 
whose slovenly Indian mountaineers he had drilled and 



DIAZ, MASTER OF MEXICO 

led in battle many times. He had discarded his uniform 
for the frock coat and top hat of a legislator, but no one 
could mistake him for one of the breed of politicians. 
The Oaxacan had partly recovered from his wounds, 
an'd although the ravages of typhus fever had thinned 
his body, the erect figure, square jaws, lionlike eyes, and 
stern bearing marked him as a leader who would yet 
have to be reckoned with. 

In his long career of military victories and construc- 
tive statesmanship, Diaz has always shown a contemp- 
tuous dislike for legislative babbling. This aversion to 
the favorite activity of the Latin-American politician 
originated, beyond doubt, in the Mexican Congress of 
1861, where Diaz saw his colleagues wantonly confusing 
and destroying the executive power of the government 
in a situation which called for concentrated authority 
backed by force, while the galleries rang with laughter 
and applause. 

Juarez seemed to have little influence in Congress. 
One of the deputies, Don Ignacio Altamirano, a pure- 
blooded Indian and famous as a Mexican author, arose 
in his place, and, referring to Juarez's attempt to procure 
peace by an amnesty, stirred the crowd in the galleries 
when he boldly said : 

" Senor Juarez feels and loves the democratic ideals, 
but I fear that he does not understand them ; and the 
reason why I fear this is that he does not show himself 
capable of vigorous, sustained, and energetic action, 
such as present circumstances demand [the government 
was understood to favor a law of amnesty]. We need 
another sort of man in the Presidency. The greatest 
service which the President could render to his country 
would be to resign, for he is an obstacle to the progress 
of democracy." 

116 



DIAZ IN A TALKATIVE CONGRESS 

Diaz listened to the orator in silence, but there came 
into his face a grim look, long afterwards remembered 
by his companions. 

While the Congress was in session on the afternoon 
of June 25, 1861, a band of Conservative guerrillas, led 
by General Tomas Mejia, boldly attacked the capital in 
the San Cosme quarter. The deputies were in the midst 
of another oratorical attack on Juarez. 

Old Don Juan A. Mateos leaped to his feet and cried 
out : 

" A debate at the moment when the capital is being 
attacked, when General Valle swings on a rope on the 
Toluca road, and when we, the representatives of the 
people, may soon be swinging from the lamp posts in 
the plaza with the Constitution tied around our necks, 
is improper; and, therefore, I propose that the session 
shall close." 

At this, another deputy stood up. " Let us wait here 
to receive the enemy like the Roman senators," he said. 

Here Diaz arose. His enthusiastic biographers de- 
clare that he stretched out his hands, lifted up his eyes, 
and in a voice thrilling with emotion shouted : " I am a 
soldier before all else, and I wish to leave the Chamber 
to take up arms." The truth is that he stood up very 
quietly and said in a low voice to the Speaker of the 
Chamber : " I am a soldier, and I beg permission to leave 
the house." The Speaker granted permission and Diaz 
left the Chamber, accompanied by Colonel Salinas and 
another deputy from Oaxaca. 

Some of the biographers also tell a fanciful tale of 
how Diaz led a body of troops through the capital and 
after a fierce battle routed the guerrillas with great loss. 
The simple facts are that when Diaz reached his hotel 

117 



DIAZ, MASTER OF MEXICO 

his manservant appeared with a rifle, and Diaz ran on 
foot in the direction of the firing, while his servant went 
for a horse. When he reached the Church of San Fer- 
nando, he found that the Oaxaca brigade, which was 
quartered there, had repulsed the enemy. Then his serv- 
ant overtook him with a horse, rifle, and belt of am- 
munition. Diaz mounted the horse, still wearing his 
frock coat and tall silk hat. His old wound prevented 
him from wearing the cartridges about his waist, so he 
strapped the belt over his shoulder, and, rifle in hand, 
started for the front; but the enemy was in full retreat. 
He could only catch a distant glimpse of the fighting. 
Later on he rode back to his hotel, still wearing his frock 
coat and high silk hat, with rifle and cartridge belt 
unused. 

This raid into the city was a mere feint ordered by 
Marquez, whose real object was to protect a column of 
his troops moving southward in the neighborhood of the 
capital. 

The scenes in Congress grew worse and worse. It 
was nothing to the loose-tongued politicians that their 
country was overwhelmed with debts, that the roads 
from one end of Mexico to the other were given over to 
cutthroats and robbers, that great nations were threat- 
eningly demanding the payment of extortionate claims, 
and that Juarez, worn by his three years' ordeal of civil 
war, was almost crushed by the weight of his responsibili- 
ties among others the necessity of governing a turbu- 
lent, demoralized nation, with an empty treasury, and the 
national credit shattered. While the deputies baited and 
insulted the President, the loafers crowding the gallery 
hissed, applauded, or taunted the friends of the admin- 
istration as though they were in a theater, circus, or 
bull ring. 

118 



DIAZ IN A TALKATIVE CONGRESS 

It is easy to understand how a strong, simple, and 
sincere character like Diaz chafed in such exasperating 
surroundings. On June 28th he showed his attitude by 
obtaining permission from the Chamber to take up his 
work as a soldier again. 

Even before that, he had quitted the company of the 
schemers and talkers in the capital, and, once more in 
uniform, the future President of Mexico, not yet thirty- 
one years old, had led his Oaxaca brigade into the dis- 
trict of Monte de las Cruces, an old haunt of bandits, 
now infested by the enemy's guerrillas, who had sorely 
tormented the country. He surprised and scattered the 
guerrillas and thoroughly cleaned out the district. 

Having obtained leave from the Chamber, Diaz took 
230 of his Oaxacan troops, the very men he had trans- 
formed into soldiers in the Zapotec mountains, and went 
with the division of General Ortega, the hero of Calpulal- 
pam, to look for Marquez, " the Tiger of Tacubaya." 

With this small force of his loyal Oaxacans and a 
reserve of Zacatecans, Diaz attacked the forces of Mar- 
quez at the village of Jalatlaco. He thoroughly under- 
stood the cunning and fierceness of Marquez, and, re- 
sorting to his usual tactics, he made the assault on 
Jalatlaco before daylight on August I3th. Most of the 
enemy were asleep in the village churchyard when Diaz's 
men broke in on them. Diaz himself rode in front of 
his force, and so complete was the movement that, after 
a skirmish in the streets, the valiant Marquez fled. Diaz 
took more than 700 prisoners and 10 cannon. General 
Ortega was so much pleased by this victory of the young 
colonel over Marquez that he folded Diaz in his arms 
and promptly wrote a letter on a drumhead, asking the 
President to promote him to the rank of brigadier- 
general. Ignacio Mejia, who was jealous of Diaz, at- 
9 119 



DIAZ, MASTER OF MEXICO 

tempted to dissuade- Juarez from granting this honor, 
urging that such a high rank conferred on one so young 
would anger older officers serving in lower grades. But 
the President, nevertheless, issued the commission. 

After the battle of Jalatlaco the 18 officers who had 
been taken in the action were pinioned, and the rank 
and file of the prisoners, more than 700, were made to 
lie down in the churchyard with their faces toward the 
ground. General Carbajal, who was Diaz's superior, 
wanted to shoot the 18 helpless officers and drew his 
pistol for that purpose. With a cry of indignation, Diaz 
wrested the pistol from the general's hand, and, his eyes 
flaming with anger, he ordered the would-be slayer of 
the prisoners to leave the churchyard. So great was his 
horror of such an act that he did not make a report of 
the battle to Carbajal, but directly to the commander in 
chief, General Ortega. 

This incident was the cause of strained relations be- 
tween Carbajal and Diaz. 

" One day I was at Pachuca," says President Diaz, 
" and, entering a small restaurant, I there found some 
of Carbajal's officers, including Carbajal himself. They 
had finished eating and were amusing themselves by pelt- 
ing one another with pellets of bread. One even threw 
the contents of a pulque glass at a comrade seated with 
me at a table in the center of the room. Some of 
the pulque spattered near my plate. This exhausted 
my patience and I drew my pistol and examined it. 
Then Carbajal spoke up, saying, * Comrade, you don't 
seem to like this fun of the boys.' I answered, ' Oh, I 
don't know, but don't be surprised, if they continue 
throwing pellets of bread, if I diversify the proceedings 
a little by shooting about a few pellets of lead.' Just 
then General Traconis, who had been seated in a corner 
of the room, and whom I had not seen, came up to me, 

120 



DIAZ IN A TALKATIVE CONGRESS 

saying, ' Porfirio, I'm with you. They are a pack of 
ruffians.' The officers thus referred to made no reply, 
and soon after both they and Carbajal slunk out of the 



In that high, soldierly temper Diaz returned to his 
place in the Congress. Here, again, he had to endure 
the antics of the kind of men who vibrate but do not 
think. One of the most responsible of those who have 
undertaken to chronicle the hero's experiences in the 
Congress declares that it was then that Diaz realized 
the intellectual vacuity of that type, half politician and 
half actor, so common in the public assemblies of the 
Latin countries, the man of attitudes, of telling phrases. 
" He gesticulates, thunders, and weeps. He is a big 
mechanical doll. His flow of words is addressed as 
much to the gallery as to the members." In the Congress 
of 1861 this phenomenon was to be seen in an acute 
form. The orators not only apostrophized the gallery, 
but entered into discussion with it. Sometimes the gal- 
lery got beyond control and imposed its will on the 
Chamber. 

The mastery of Diaz's work as a ruler, the world- 
wide acknowledgment of his capacity as a nation-maker, 
and the evidence to be found in the peace and prosperity 
of his country under the firm direction which he is able 
to give to it, even in his eightieth year, lends a singular 
importance to every political or governmental experience 
that influenced the mind and character of this su- 
premely great Latin- American leader at a time when he 
must have concentrated all his powers of observation 
and summoned all his intelligence in an attempt to study 
the science of government in a country where effective 
government had almost ceased to exist. 

It galled the veteran of so many battlefields to hear 
121 



DIAZ, MASTER OF MEXICO 

his victory at Jalatlaco made the subject of jokes and 
jeers in the gallery. It stung his soldierly pride that he 
had to sit in his place and listen to the scurrilous demon- 
strations of idle rowdies or the vapid mouthings of con- 
ceited and treacherous politicians. He began to stay 
away from the sessions of the Congress, and the monkey- 
brained gallery noticed his sensitiveness. 

One day there was a very stormy session of. the 
Chamber, which is described in contemporary accounts. 
The Minister of Finance got up and said that he de- 
spised Senor Altamirano. Senor Altamirano, poet and 
essayist, arose and said that he despised the Minister of 
Finance. A storm of passionate noise broke loose. The 
Speaker of the Chamber put on his hat and left his desk. 
The Secretary of the Chamber approached the desk and 
rang violently for order. Many deputies arose and 
shouted, " We have no liberty ! " " This is coercion ! " 
" This is intolerable ! " One of the deputies asked that 
it be recorded that he and his friends withdrew because 
they had no freedom. A hurricane of howls, catcalls, 
and whistling came from the gallery. 

Then it was found that there were ten members lack- 
ing for a quorum. One of the deputies shouted : 

" It is only the deputies from Oaxaca that are absent. 
Their substitutes should be called for." 

In answer to this fling at Diaz and his friends, Justo 
Benitez, a lawyer who had gone to school with Diaz and 
was regarded as his foster-brother, jumped to his feet 
and said in a voice vibrating with indignation : 

"It is not true that all the deputies from Oaxaca 
are absent; nor has anyone the right to villify those of 
them who are absent or those who are present. Both 
have done their duty to the republic, not only in the 

122 




DIAZ AT THE AGE OF THIRTY-ONE YEARS, JUST AFTER His VICTORY 
OVER MARQUEZ AT JALATLACO. 



DIAZ IN A TALKATIVE CONGRESS 

Federal Congress, but in the darkest days of the Liberal 
cause." 

Another deputy, Pefia y Ramirez, said : 

" I propose that the absentees be sent for, which is 
the only legal way of putting an end to this scandal. Let 
those who have deserted, on the plea that the innocent 
demonstrations of the gallery deprived them of liberty, 
be forced to return." 

Again Justo Benitez took the floor. " The chamber," 
he said, " should not regard as a slight the absence of 
a deserving group of citizens who have vacated their 
seats because they believe that the public is exercising 
undue pressure upon the debates of this assembly " 
[hoots and hisses from the gallery]. 

Turning to the leering, noisy rabble in the gallery, 
which was amusing itself by deriding the absent Oaxaca 
patriots, Benitez addressed the ruffians. 

" Which of you," he exclaimed, " is in a position to 
address a reproach to Generals Salinas and Diaz? 
Which of you has defeated Cobos again and again on 
the battlefields of Oaxaca ? Which of you has given to 
your country a victory like that of Jalatlaco ? " 

Diaz did not return to his seat in the Congress. He 
had heard the voice of an undeveloped people, whose 
majority was drawn anciently from Oriental bloods, 
called to self-government under an Anglo-Saxon Con- 
stitution. He had witnessed the working out of the 
common Mexican temperament and capacity in condi- 
tions of unrestrained democracy. He had understood at 
last that the apish demagogue, false, empty, but with 
the gift of dramatic word and gesture, was a command- 
ing hero in the eyes of the sovereign people, as he poured 
out a flood of meaningless but exciting rhetoric about 

123 



DIAZ, MASTER OF MEXICO 

the rights of ma^n ; while the great Juarez, still hypnotized 
by the idea that constitutions and laws can in themselves 
produce power, was rendered helpless in his executive 
authority by elements having only the inert force of 
numbers, the down-drawing strength of the quicksand. 
Democratic forms had not made a nation of the unhappy 
Mexican people. 

But it was not in General Diaz to be idle. With his 
Oaxacan brigade he joined the forces of General San- 
tiago Tapia, preparing to fight General Marquez, who, 
with the remnants of his army saved from Jalatlaco and 
reinforcements recruited from Queretaro and San Luis 
Potosi, had made a stand at Pachuca. Diaz acted as 
chief of staff. He made a forced march and on October 
20, 1 86 1, drove Marquez from the city. The terrible 
guerrilla general retreated by a road leading to Mineral 
del Monte and took possession of three hills. Diaz was 
ordered to attack these hills. It was a bloody battle, 
but Diaz swept Marquez and his forces from their posi- 
tions, capturing much of their artillery. He pursued the 
enemy for some distance and went back to Mineral del 
Monte, spending four or five days burying the dead and 
taking care of the wounded. Then he returned to the 
City of Mexico but not to the Congress. 

Even in those days Juarez seemed to see the nimbus 
of a high destiny about the form of the young Oaxaca 
general. Soon after the battle of Jalatlaco a number of 
army officers visited the President in the national palace, 
among them Diaz. It was an interesting night scene. 
The Indian statesman sat at a table in his black coat, 
the lamplight glowing on his earnest, swarthy face, and 
sparkling on the buttons, gold lace, and sword hilts of 
the officers, who pressed eagerly around him and sued 
for his attention. Diaz stood apart, silent, his hand on 

124 



DIAZ IN A TALKATIVE CONGRESS 

his sword hilt. He had just won an important battle and 
had gained the rank of general, but there was no vanity 
in his bearing. He seemed more sober, more reserved 
than ever. 

Turning from the eager throng surrounding him, the 
President pointed to Diaz and said slowly, with a look 
of marked significance in his bright black eyes : " Do 
you see that young man who stands there alone and 
without a word ? He will be my successor ! " 

Don Felix Romero, now the venerable President of 
the Supreme Court of Justice, was present in the room 
when Juarez uttered this prophecy. He says that the 
President spoke in a loud, clear voice, as though it were 
his intention that Diaz should hear his words. The victor 
of Jalatlaco remained motionless, with a look of im- 
penetrable reserve on his weather-beaten countenance. 



CHAPTER XII 

NAPOLEON PLANS A MEXICAN EMPIRE 

OF all events in the bewildering history of Mexico, 
there is nothing more romantic than the bloody attempt 
of Napoleon III to establish an empire on the ruins of 
Mexican democracy, with the blond, _ dreamy, and youth- 
ful Austrian Archduke Maximilian as his crowned 
puppet. 

The story of this mad adventure of an ambitious and 
treacherous monarch, filled with a desire to win historic 
glory by the partial or complete conquest of America, 
forms the tragic threshold through which Porfirio Diaz 
made his entry upon a grander stage of service to his dis- 
tracted country. 

In vain were the thundering of Napoleon's artillery, 
the shouting of his armies, the rushes of French and 
Austrian bayonets, the thousands slain on hundreds of 
battlefields, the deliberate murder of prisoners of war; 
and, in the midst of it, the blue-eyed, fair-bearded, senti- 
mental prince, with his beautiful young wife, the daugh- 
ter of a king, attempting to seduce Mexico from the love 
of liberty by the tinseled show of a monarchical court. 
The half-starved Indian troops, led by heroes like Diaz, 
fought through years of defeat, till in the end imperial 
Maximilian died by patriot Mexican hands and all the 
world acknowledged the independence of the republic. 

It must be remembered that in 1840 an able and elo- 
126 



NAPOLEON PLANS A MEXICAN EMPIRE 

quent Mexican named Gutierrez de Estrada, who had 
served in the Cabinet of President Comonfort in 1835, 
had been forced to fly abroad to escape the fury of his 
countrymen because he had dared publicly to point to the 
general disorder, repeated wars, increasing poverty, pro- 
longed political chaos, and appalling social demoralization 
as conclusive proofs that the people of Mexico were un- 
suited to democratic institutions, and that the republican 
Constitution adopted by the patriotic but inexperienced 
Mexicans of 1824 was a ghastly mistake. 

Gutierrez de Estrada insisted that the history of the 
country and its various races furnished a complete demon- 
stration that the Mexican population was incapable of 
making progress except under a crowned ruler. Without 
monarchy the nation would disintegrate. Democratic 
government was a natural outcome of Anglo-Saxon 
thought, and under its influence the people of the United 
States had grown in power. But the very system that 
produced strength, unity, and order in the northern re- 
public, had steadily divided and weakened Mexico, whose 
masses could never understand democratic institutions. 
Unless the Constitution were abandoned and a monarchy 
ordained, Mexico would become weaker and weaker and 
the United States stronger and stronger, until the Mexi- 
cans would be subjugated and absorbed by the greater 
nation. 

It is difficult for a Mexican to hear calmly even a 
modified explanation of Gutierrez de Estrada's motives in 
that time of black political anarchy. The fact that he 
afterwards helped a foreign armed invasion of his coun- 
try has covered his name with infamy. Yet, aside from 
his advocacy of kingship, there was much truth and hard 
sense in what he had to say about the effects of the at- 
tempt, suddenly and without intermediate preparation, to 

127 



DIAZ, MASTER OF MEXICO 

thrust upon the politically unripe peoples descended from 
the slavish masses of American aboriginals the trying, 
and sometimes stupefying, responsibilities of self-govern- 
ment. Seven years afterwards he was able to point to 
the flag of the United States, raised by an American 
army over Chapultepec Castle, as a partial confirmation 
of his words. 

After leaving Mexico in 1840 this eloquent and ener- 
getic man wandered about Europe and carried on in the 
principal capitals a never-resting propaganda against the 
Mexican republic. He was a man of much learning. 
The grace of his person, his intellectual fineness, and the 
charm of his social and political address, together with 
his powerful church connections, enabled him to enter 
some of the most exalted and exclusive circles in the fore- 
most cities of Europe. For twenty years he devoted his 
whole time to an agitation in favor of a reigning prince 
for Mexico. The dream was with him always and every- 
where. It ran in his blood. 

No man could have worked so long and so faithfully 
for a single purpose unless he were sincere. Even Presi- 
dent Diaz, in the calmness of his old age, has said, 
" Gutierrez de Estrada became a traitor to his country 
out of patriotic motives." 

In time the self-exile married into the family of Prince 
Metternich, the powerful Austrian prime minister. That, 
in time, gave him an access even to the most secret 
and influential forces of the Austrian imperial court that 
was eventually to work out tragically for Mexico. 

While President Juarez struggled with an empty 
treasury and a garrulous, antagonistic Congress, the fugi- 
tive leaders and agents of the defeated Conservative Party 
were at work throughout Europe. Beaten on the battle- 
field, their one hope was in foreign intervention. Mira- 

128 



NAPOLEON PLANS A MEXICAN EMPIRE 

mon, Almonte, La Bastida, Archbishop of Mexico, and 
Gutierrez de Estrada were in Paris, and as they worked 
on the unscrupulous mind of Napoleon III, other reac- 
tionary Mexicans pleaded their cause with the Pope in 
Rome. 

The selfish and perfidious monarch who betrayed the 
French republic he had sworn to serve, and by treason to 
a whole nation set an imperial crown on his perjured head, 
listened gladly to the conspirators when they declared that 
Mexico was " monarchical to the core." Thirsting- for 
military glory and power, Napoleon's mind was filled 
with a vision of conquest in America. 

Mexico was poor and exhausted by war. Her rav- 
aged people, tired of the weakness and dissension of de- 
mocracy, would gladly turn to the iron peace of a strong 
monarchy. All Catholic nations would welcome the sub- 
jugation of the republic which had stripped the Church 
of its wealth and privileges. Great Britain, France, and 
Spain were already pressing Mexico for the payment of 
clebts arid claims. President Juarez, harassed by a hos- 
tile and foolish Congress, had no money with which to 
satisfy the demands of foreign creditors. The loose talk 
about European intervention to save Mexico from utter 
anarchy was assuming more definite form. 

Napoleon's soul took fire. He would revive the ter- 
rible prestige of the Bonaparte name. He would be the 
first to overthrow the arrogant -Monroe 0ocf rirfQ through 
which the United States had defied" the Holy Alliance 
to meddle with the free nations of America, and but for 
which the Latin-American republics would have been de- 
stroyed long ago and their peoples and lands restored to 
the rule of European kings. The great Anglo-Saxon re- 
public which had so boldly challenged continental Eu- 
rope in 1823, was now on the brink of a civil war. 

129 



DIAZ, MASTER OF MEXICO 

Abraham 'Lincoln had been elected President of the 
United States, and the slaveholding Southern States had 
seceded from the Union, seizing the forts, arsenals, cus- 
tomhouses, mints, and courthouses of the nation. Blood- 
shed could yet be averted by Lincoln, but when once the 
American people were riven by actual war, Mexico might 
be occupied with impunity, and the way opened up, per- 
haps, for the Latin conquest of the American hemisphere. 

That would be the last of republican government on 
earth. It was a dream that suited the imperial gambler's 
sordid ambition. Alas, what shadows the plans of even 
emperors and popes may be ! The intervention in Mexico 
ultimately drove Napoleon from his throne to* an exile's 
grave, and the withdrawal of Napoleon's support from 
Pius IX enabled Victor Emmanuel to seize Rome and 
strip the Pope of his temporal power. 

While Napoleon was waiting for the ripening of 
events, the Mexican Congress authorized a presidential 
decree suspending all payments on the foreign debt for 
two years. 

It is said that this stupid and apparently shameful act 
was inspired by the powerful deputy Sebastian Lerdo de 
Tejada (afterwards Juarez's principal minister and suc- 
cessor), and was in opposition to the President's wishes. 
However that may be, it is a fact that on July 17, 1861, 
Juarez proclaimed the national bankruptcy of Mexico. 

It was a stroke of madness at such a time. Three 
weeks before, Sir Charles Wyke, the British Minister, 
had advised his government that nothing but a naval 
demonstration in the ports of Tampico and Vera Cruz 
would bring the Mexicans to reason. Now, without a 
word of notice to the British Minister, and while still ne- 
gotiating with him regarding the foreign debt, Mexico 
had suddenly announced her absolute insolvency. 

130 



NAPOLEON PLANS A MEXICAN EMPIRE 

Napoleon was at breakfast when he received a tele- 
gram reporting the action of the Mexican Congress. At 
the same time he received a telegram from the French 
Minister at Washington conveying the news that Presi- 
dent Lincoln had ordered the Federal army to move on 
the Confederate forces in Virginia. The Emperor read 
the telegrams in silence and handed them across the table 
to Almonte, the principal agent of the Mexican Conserv- 
atives. As he passed Almonte, Napoleon leaned down 
and whispered in his ear, " The hour has struck ! " 

Great Britain, France, and Spain, ignoring the cruel 
poverty of Mexico and the heroic efforts of Juarez to 
restore order to his country, broke off diplomatic relations 
with the republic. The three creditor nations, principally 
at the suggestion of Napoleon, signed a convention in 
London on October 31, 1861, agreeing to seize jointly 
fortresses on the Mexican coast, take possession of the 
-cttstomsYevenues, and arrange a commission to settle their 
debts. It is impossible to say whether, even then, the 
British Foreign Minister, Lord John Russell, suspected 
the brutal scheme of conquest in the mind of Napoleon; 
but under British influence it was solemnly set forth in 
the contract that none of the allies desired to acquire any 
part of the soil of Mexico, or to interfere with the Mexi- 
can government in its own affairs. 

Unhappy Mexico! Even the United States, already 
in the first throes of the great Civil War, foresaw the 
peril of the foreign invasion of the sister republic. Pres- 
ident Lincoln's government proposed to Juarez that the 
whole of the Mexican foreign debt, about $82,000,000, 
should be assumed by the United States and that the 
soil of Lower California and Sonora should be pledged 
for the repayment of the money within five years. But 
no Mexican statesman would dare, under such circum- 



DIAZ, MASTER OF MEXICO 

stances, to pawn 140,000 square miles of the national 
territory in the hands of the powerful neighbor who had 
already absorbed so much of the country, and the offer 
was promptly declined. 

The united squadrons of the allies arrived at Vera 
Cruz in December, 1861, and January, 1862. The Brit- 
ish carried no army and had merely 700 marines as a 
guard of honor for their representative. The Spanish 
were accompanied by 5,700 troops and 300 horses, and 
their 16 war ships cleared for action as they reached Vera 
Cruz and compelled the fortress of San Juan de Ulloa to 
surrender. The French squadron was provided with an 
army of 6,000 men, prepared for a serious military 
campaign. 

Of the $82,000,000 foreign debt that formed the pre- 
text for the appearance of this formidable fleet, only about 
$2,600,000 was due to France and $9,400,000 to Spain, 
while the great bulk of the money, $7O,ooo,ooo7 v was owed 
to Great Britain, whose squadron was without soldiers. 

In vain had President Juarez made an agreement on 
the foreign debt that would have satisfied Great Britain 
and Spain. The Congress promptly rejected it. 

Whatever may be said as to the conduct of Great 
Britain and Spain, it is certain that Napoleon III entered 
upon this debt-collecting, peace-restoring enterprise with 
a deliberate intention of effecting the armed conquest of 
Mexico. The French claims were absolutely indefensible 
and were pressed with an arrogant refusal to specify de- 
tails or furnish evidence of any kind that made it impos- 
sible for any self-respecting government to recognize 
them. 

Napoleon insisted that the Jecker bonds, amounting 
to $15,000,000, should be paid in full, although they had 
been issued in return for $750,000 cash by Miramon at 

132 



NAPOLEON PLANS A MEXICAN EMPIRE 

the very time when he was attempting to destroy the 
Constitutional government of Juarez. Besides, it was 
shown that Jecker's nationality was Swiss and that he 
had only become a French citizen in order to make his 
outrageous claims a part of the excuse for Napoleon's 
action. 

Even Lord Russell, when he considered the French 
pretensions, was compelled to write this admission: 

" It is hardly possible that claims so excessive as that 
of $12,000,000 in the lump, without an account, and 
that of $15,000,000 for $750,000 actually received, can 
have been put forward with an expectation that they 
would be complied with." 

Not only that Napoleon's bastard brother, the Due 
de Morny, was financially interested in the collection of 
Jecker's claim but the British, who in many respects 
showed a reasonable disposition, actually demanded that 
President Juarez's government should fully repay the 
money stolen by Miramon from the British Legation in 
Mexico. 

The three commanders of the allied forces Admiral 
de la Graviere, representing France; Commodore Dun- 
lop, representing Great Britain ; and General Prim, repre- 
senting Spain issued at Vera Cruz a proclamation to 
the Mexican nation, declaring that their respective forces 
had come to demand the fulfillment of treaties, and for 
the purpose of enabling Mexico, under their protection, 
to choose a strong government that would put an end 
to the anarchy that had prevailed. 

Sir Charles Wyke had, unconsciously perhaps, pre- 
pared the British Government to fall into Napoleon's 
carefully laid trap by such alarming descriptions of 
Mexico as the following: 

133 



DIAZ, MASTER OF MEXICO 

" Congress, instead of enabling the government to 
put down the frightful disorder which reigns through- 
out the length and breadth of the land, is occupied in 
disputing about vain theories of so-called government on 
ultra-Liberal principles, whilst the respectable part of the 
population is delivered up defenseless to the attacks of 
robbers and assassins, who swarm on the high roads and 
in the streets of the capital. . . . Patriotism, in the 
common acceptation of the term, appears to be unknown, 
and no one of any note is to be found in the ranks of 
either party. Contending factions struggle for the pos- 
session of power only to gratify their cupidity or their 
revenge, and in the meantime the country sinks lower and 
lower, whilst its population becomes brutalized and de^ 
graded to an extent frighffu1:~tD"Contemplate." 

A comparison of this situation with the sober and 
fruitful conditions which followed the masterful execu- 
tive policy of President Diaz should be instructive to all 
serious students of government. 

The commanders of the foreign squadrons communi- 
cated with President Juarez's government, which de- 
clared that it would try to meet their demands if the 
forces were withdrawn. Presently Miramon returned to 
Mexico and attempted to land with a party of conspira- 
tors, his purpose being to head a revolution against the 
republic. But that was too much for the British, whose 
legation he had once openly violated and robbed. Com- 
modore Dunlop, in the teeth of a protest by the French 
representatives, arrested Miramon and sent him on a war 
ship to Havana. That was Napoleon's first check. 

After some negotiation, the commissioners of France, 
Great Britain, and Spain met in conference with the rep- 
resentatives of the republic at La Soledad, near Vera 
Cruz, on February 19, 1862, and signed a treaty to cover 
further negotiations. 

134 



NAPOLEON PLANS A MEXICAN EMPIRE 

Because of the deadly climate of the coast, permission 
was granted to the foreign soldiers already landed to re- 
tire to the high land of Orizaba, which was within the 
Mexican defenses of Chiquihuite; but it was agreed that 
these troops should retire to the coast if the negotiations 
should be broken off. 

Napoleon was impatient to develop the great crime 
he had planned. Anything like an attempt to deal with 
the Mexican republic in good faith might defeat the 
scheme of armed subjugation which he had planned. On 
March i, 1861, General de Lorencez arrived from France 
with reinforcements of troops. At the same time, Gen- 
eral Juan N. Almonte, the illegitimate son of the mar- 
tyred patriot Morelos, who had represented the defeated 
Conservatives in Paris, and had been planning with Na- 
poleon the establishment of an empire in Mexico, arrived 
in Vera Cruz and with him Padre Miranda, one of the 
most infamous figures in the Clerical war against the 
republic. Miranda was openly received by the French 
admiral and lived in his headquarters at Orizaba. In 
spite of the united protests of President Juarez and the 
British representatives, the traitor Almonte was allowed 
by General de Lorencez to go to Orizaba under his protec- 
tion ; and there he at once became the center of the Con- 
servative plotters against the republic, the meetings of 
the conspirators being publicly countenanced both by the 
French commissioner and the French commander in chief. 

This gross treachery to the solemn agreements of 
London and La Soledad, persisted in by France against 
the remonstrances of her allies, compelled Great Britain 
and Spain to declare that the tripartite agreement was at 
an end. Thereupon the British and Spanish forces with- 
drew, leaving the French flag flying alone over the fort- 
ress of San Juan de Ulloa. General de Lorencez added 
10 135 



DIAZ, MASTER OF MEXICO 

to Napoleon's perfidy and further violated the convention 
of La Soledad by starting from Cordoba to Orizaba with 
troops, under the pretext that he had to protect 340 
French soldiers said to be sick at that place. The crim- 
inal purpose which governed Napoleon while his repre- 
sentatives were pretending to negotiate with the dis- 
tressed republic can be judged by General de Lorencez's 
candid dispatch to his government : 

" We possess over the Mexicans such a superiority of 
race, organization, discipline, morality and elevation of 
sentiment, that I entreat Your Excellency to tell the Em- 
peror that from this moment, at the head of his six thou- 
sand soldiers, I am the master of Mexico." 

The British Foreign Minister explained the situation 
when he wrote: " The principle of non-intervention hav- 
ing been always maintained by the English government, 
our force was withdrawn and our flag hauled down upon 
the express determination of Admiral de la Graviere and 
M. Saligny to march to Mexico for the purpose of over- 
throwing the government of President Juarez." 

The French mask having been thrown aside and Na- 
poleon having revealed himself as a shameless adventurer 
bent upon the spoliation of the apparently helpless repub- 
lic, President Juarez called upon every Mexican between 
the ages of twenty and sixty years to take up arms for 
the defense of his country. 

There is nothing finer in human history than the re- 
sponse which the impoverished descendants of the pre- 
historic Mexican peoples made to this call of their un- 
daunted Zapotec leader. Whatever may be said of the 
political fitness or unfitness for self-government of the 
masses of Mexico, they have given abundant proof of 
their willingness to fight and to die for national inde- 



NAPOLEON PLANS A MEXICAN EMPIRE 

pendence, even when liberty has meant only license to 
war against each other afterwards. No thoughtful man 
can read Mexican history without being awe-struck by 
the capacity of the Mexican people for suffering, and their 
righting resiliency, in spite of oppressions and defeats. 

The war call of Mexico to her battle-worn sons was 
made at a time when the imperial dastard of France 
seemed to have at his mercy an absolutely helpless victim. 
His first volleys were fired when the United States was 
powerless to resist violations of the Monroe Doctrine. 
The battle of Shiloh had been fought, with 10,000 killed 
and wounded; the Merrimac and the Monitor had met; 
Farragut's fleet was forcing its way to the mouth of the 
Mississippi against the roaring guns of the Confederacy. 
No outside help could be looked for. The Mexican peo- 
ple alone, with traitors seeking to divide their force, must 
resist the heartless master of continental Europe, behind 
whom stood the Pope and other forces, as yet suspected, 
but not clearly seen. 

The army of 10,000 Mexicans organized to meet the 
invaders was at first commanded by General Jose Lopez 
Uraga, but when that officer declared that it was impos- 
sible to make an effective defense against the European 
troops, he was instantly relieved and the command was 
given to General Ignacio Zaragoza, a lawyer turned sol- 
dier. Porfirio Diaz served in the army as a brigadier- 
general in the first division of this army and had imme- 
diate command of the second brigade. 

The French army began hostilities on April 19, 1862, 
when General de Lorencez with a body of troops left Cor- 
doba for Orizaba, in violation of the agreement with 
Mexico, his pretext being that he must protect the sick 
of his army at Orizaba. As a matter of fact, the French 
soldiers at Orizaba were not in the slightest danger, nor 

137 



DIAZ, MASTER OF MEXICO 

had the Mexicans shown any disposition to molest them. 
Nevertheless, General de Lorencez before starting out, 
harangued his soldiers, saying : 

" Soldiers ! let us march to the relief of our comrades 
to the cry of ' Vive 1'Empereur ! ' " 

General Diaz with the van of the Mexican army oc- 
cupied an advanced position on the plain of Escamela. 
His mission was peacefully to take possession of Orizaba 
after the French and Spanish troops left the place. No 
treachery was suspected. 

Little dreaming of what was to occur, General Diaz 
sent his brother, Lieutenant-Colonel Felix Diaz, with fifty 
cavalrymen, to watch the movements of the foreign troops. 

" When the rear of the enemy was arriving at Cor- 
doba," says President Diaz, " 200 French cavalrymen, 
with a zouave seated behind each horseman, was detached 
from the main body, and suddenly turning around, closed 
with the observation party which I had sent out. Our 
soldiers defended themselves heroically, many being killed, 
and their commander [Felix Diaz] wounded in the breast 
and taken prisoner. 

" A few moments after this skirmish the Countess of 
Reus [General Prim's wife] passed the spot, being car- 
ried in a litter on her way to Vera Cruz, with an escort 
of Spanish troops. On being informed of what had 
taken place, she made a vigorous plea for the release of 
the prisoners, as did also General Milan del Bosch, Chief 
of Staff to General Prim. Lieutenant-Colonel Diaz, 
taking advantage of a moment of distraction on the part 
of his French captors, vaulted to the back of his horse, 
which was still near him, jumped over a wall along the 
roadside, and disappeared in the woods without being hit 
by the French volleys. Two days later he joined me at 
Acultzingo, having gone around by the Mount Orizaba 
road." 

138 



NAPOLEON PLANS A MEXICAN EMPIRE 

General Diaz gallantly attacked the French forces who 
had so treacherously begun the war without notice, but 
was ordered to retire by General Zaragoza, and was then 
sent with his men to Acultzingo. 

Two days after his arrival at Acultzingo he marched 
with his brigade to Tehuacan, where two other brigades 
were placed under his orders and he was instructed to ad- 
vance toward Matamoras Izucar, in the state of Puebla, 
to intercept the troops of the traitorous Marquez, " the 
Tacubaya Tiger," who was advancing in that neighbor- 
hood to join the foreign invaders. Diaz had actually 
moved out with his army toward Matamoras, but on 
reaching Tlacotepec he received word that the French 
were moving upon Acultzingo, and he was ordered to face 
about with all speed and join General Zaragoza at that 
place. 

The hero of Oaxaca had had the honor of replying 
to the first fire of the invaders. His coolness and energy 
afterwards saved the Mexican forces from disgrace. 
Having under General Zaragoza's orders undertaken to 
defend a bridge on the wagon road along which the 
French army was advancing toward Acultzingo, he 
noticed that part of the Mexican forces, apparently over- 
whelmed by nervousness, had begun to retreat in disorder. 
The general had just placed himself at the head of his 
own brigade when he saw the multitude of flying Mexi- 
cans. Drawing his sword, he moved out on the bridge 
and checked the flight, sending the fugitives in bodies of 
500 each up the Ixtapa ravine under the orders of officers 
whom he selected from among the fugitives themselves. 

Hardly had Diaz placed his forces in fighting position 
and opened a terrific fire on the vanguard of the French, 
when General Zaragoza ordered him to retreat along the 
Ixtapa ravine. He carried out this movement at ten 

139 



DIAZ, MASTER OF MEXICO 

o'clock at night, leaving behind him bodies of sharp- 
shooters to prevent a surprise in the rear, and withdraw- 
ing them gradually as he fell back. On the next day 
General Zaragoza ordered his forces to march to the city 
of Puebla, where they arrived on May 3d. On that day 
also the French invaders arrived at Amozoc, within 
striking distance of Puebla. Two days later the famous 
battle of the Fifth of May was fought, and the world 
learned that Napoleon III had undertaken a larger and 
longer task than he had imagined. 

It was on the very day when General Diaz arrested 
the flight of Mexican troops at Acultzingo and for the 
second time boldly engaged the van of the invaders, that 
Almonte, the Mexican traitor, under the open protection 
of the French army at Orizaba, proclaimed himself Presi- 
dent, Supreme Ruler of the Mexican nation, and Com- 
mander in Chief of the National Armies, issuing a proc- 
lamation in which he called upon the Mexican people to 
welcome " the beneficent and civilizing influence of the 
illustrious sovereign of France." 

Thus, the illegitimate son of the patriot priest Morelos, 
who died that the Mexican republic might live, trampled 
upon his father's grave. And yet Morelos had made 
great sacrifices in order that his son might be reared in 
the love of liberty. When the priest, who led the 
struggle for Mexican independence after the execution of 
Hidalgo, was brought before the Inquisition for trial, he 
was questioned about his son. All through the terrible 
fighting against Spain, Morelos had carried the boy with 
him. , When a battle was imminent, he would kiss his 
little son, place him in the hands of a guard, and cry, " Al 
monte ! " (" To the mountain ! "). When he stood before 
his inquisitors, with certain death awaiting him, it devel- 
oped that he had sent his son to a school in New Orleans. 

140 



NAPOLEON PLANS A MEXICAN EMPIRE 

'* You have sent your son to the United States to be 
educated in the religion of the Protestants you are a 
heretic," said one of the inquisitors. 

" No/' answered Morelos with a shining face, " I 
have sent my boy to New Orleans to be educated because 
in the colleges of this colony he would not have imbibed 
the principles of liberty, nor have acquired that temper 
which inspires men with noble sentiments and leads them 
to sacrifice all things for the independence of their 
country." 

It was this son, so destined by his hero-father, who 
called upon his countrymen to help a foreign army to 
destroy the Constitutional republic of Mexico, promising 
that Marquez, Miramon, Mejia, Zuioaga, and other 
traitors would join in the assault upon Juarez's govern- 
ment, with the blessing of the Church. 

General Diaz made a dramatic reply to Almonte 
when he named his favorite battalion of Oaxacans the 
Battalion Morelos, and in the proclamation with which 
he gave the colors to the battalion, said : 

" Our flag waving in victory, or our dead bodies ly- 
ing under its sheltering folds, will be the best testimony 
we can give to the world that we are worthy sons of 
Morelos, in contrast with the monster [Almonte] who 
impiously lifts his hand against his country and the honor 
of his illustrious father." 

The stupendous attempt to reverse the history of the 
western hemisphere, which hinged upon the struggle thus 
opened, was partly revealed by the Abbe Emmanuel 
Domenech, Napoleon's secret personal representative in 
Mexico, when he afterwards wrote : 

" If monarchy should be successfully introduced into 
the Spanish republics, in ten years the United States 

141 



DIAZ, MASTER OF MEXICO 

would themselves declare a dictatorship, which is a kind 
of republican monarchy adopted by degenerate or too 
revolutionary republics. . . . The Intervention was a 
grand and glorious undertaking, which promised to be 
for France the crowning glory of the reign of Napoleon 
III, and for Europe and the world the grandest enterprise 
of the nineteenth century. . . . Behind the Mexican ex- 
pedition there was more than an empire to found, a nation 
to save, markets to create, thousands of millions to de- 
velop; there was a world tributary to France, happy to 
submit to our sympathetic influence, to receive their sup- 
plies from us, and to ascribe to us their resurrection to 
the political and social life of civilized people." 



CHAPTER XIII 

BATTLE OF THE FIFTH OF MAY 

WHILE the French army under General de Lorencez 
was boastfully preparing at the village of Amozoc for an 
easy victory over the despised Mexicans in Puebla, and 
traitors were hurrying to every secret center of treason in 
the country to organize rebellion, General Zaragoza 
called his commanding officers together in Puebla and 
told them that the resistance which had so far been 
offered to the invaders was insignificant, although the 
government had made every effort to equip the army as 
efficiently as possible under the difficult circumstances 
in which the country was placed, owing to long years of 
internecine strife; but, in any case, it would be shameful 
if a handful of foreign troops not much larger than a 
scouting party, considering the size of the country- 
should reach the capital of the republic without having 
its advance contested in a manner befitting a country 
of more than 8,000,000 inhabitants; consequently, he 
earnestly entreated all present to fight to the last breath, 
so that if they did not win a victory, which was hardly 
to be expected, considering the lack of everything which 
constituted an effective army, they might at least suc- 
cumb with dignity, leaving nothing undone on the Mexi- 
can side, and securing time for the preparation of de- 
fensive measures in the interior of the country, so that 
if the enemy suffered serious losses they would be 

143 



DIAZ, MASTER OF MEXICO 

obliged to take up their quarters in Puebla, where the 
Mexicans, although defeated, could continue to harass 
them. 

Then the little Mexican army threw itself with en- 
ergy into preparations for the defense of the city. Gen- 
eral Diaz, who had borne the brunt of contact with the 
invaders, was to be second in command in a battle which 
is celebrated every year by Mexicans throughout the 
world. 

The forces commanded by General Negrete occupied 
the small hills of Guadalupe and Loreto, outside of the 
city. General Diaz, with his own brigade and the forces 
of Generals Berriozabal, Lamadrid, and Alvarez, occu- 
pied a position at the brick kiln, the farthest structure 
outside of the city on the Amozoc road. It was here that 
the French attack w r as expected. Diaz was placed in 
command in order that he might be the first to meet the 
onset of the French veterans. 

The invaders attacked Puebla on the morning of 
May 5, 1862, with more than 5,000 men. 

Swinging off the Amozoc road, they unexpectedly 
formed a line of battle facing the hills of Guadalupe and 
Loreto and opened fire with artillery, following up the 
attack with a strong infantry column, which charged 
against the hills. At this, General Zaragoza sent the 
brigades of Generals Berriozabal and Lamadrid to re- 
inforce the Mexican troops on the hills. The French 
column was exposed to the artillery fire of both the 
Loreto and Guadalupe forts and received a full volley 
from Berriozabal's brigade. The Mexican fire was so 
heavy that the French retreated in confusion, being at- 
tacked on their flank by the Vera Cruz battalion and 
a force of Puebla mountain Indians, still wearing their 
picturesque native dress. 

144 




H 

H ,-, 



w 
* -a 

H g 





W ' 

B 



O 



BATTLE OF THE FIFTH OF MAY 

The French general, who witnessed from his batteries 
the defeat of his first column, sent out a second column, 
which joined the first. The whole force advanced 
straight against the hill of Guadalupe, and so gallantly 
did they charge that they passed the moats at the foot 
of the fort, and swarming up over each other's shoul- 
ders, they attempted to scale the intrenchments. So 
determined were the French to take the fort that they 
grasped the projecting muzzles of the Mexican cannon 
as they pulled themselves upward. The Mexican artil- 
lerymen were without small arms, which had been dis- 
tributed among the infantry, but in that crisis they broke 
the heads of the climbing invaders with gun swabs and 
levers. 

Finally, under a concentrated Mexican fire, the two. 
French columns were driven down the hill in confusion. 
This was the republic's first answer to the declaration 
of the Conservative traitors that the people of Mexico 
would strew flowers before the feet of Napoleon's troops. 

When the French made the second assault, General de 
Lorencez brought up a heavy force of marines, chasseurs 
d'Afrique, and chasseurs de Vincennes, and sent it, bril- 
liant with colors and sparkling with bright steel, across 
the plain and the barley fields to attack General Diaz on 
the wagon road; but when the French drew near and 
received the united fire of his troops they turned and 
fled. Diaz ordered his brother to make a saber charge, 
but an impassable ditch saved the French, who, joining 
their comrades driven back from the fort of Guadalupe, 
turned about and offered a tenacious resistance. Diaz 
advanced, and the enemy fell back, but still continued 
to fight. He pursued the enemy far beyond the range 
of the Guadalupe cannon. A drunken captain brought 
him a message from the commander in chief ordering 

145 



DIAZ, MASTER OF MEXICO 

a suspension of the pursuit. Diaz, after listening to the 
tipsy messenger, "refused to obey the order and declared 
that he would justify his conduct. 

That day the flag of the Oaxaca battalion was car- 
ried by a soldier who was shot through the heart. Then 
a lieutenant seized it from the hands of the dead man 
and waved it in the air. He, too, was shot through the 
head and fell, clasping the colors in his arms. Still 
another picked up the flag, and it was still fluttering in 
Diaz's brigade. 

Presently General Zaragoza's chief of staff reached 
Diaz and declared that if he did not obey the order to 
abandon the pursuit of the French he would be court- 
martialed. The Oaxacan explained that the enemy, al- 
though retreating, was still fighting, and that if he faced 
about at such a distance from the fort and from the rest 
of the Mexican forces, the enemy would undoubtedly 
turn around and make a determined attack. He insisted 
upon waiting until dark before retreating, and the chief 
of staff agreed with his idea. 

This was the end of a battle in which the French were 
completely beaten, with a loss of more than i ,000, killed 
and wounded. The result of the first real trial of arms 
between Napoleon and the Mexican republic was cele- 
brated in all the cities and towns of Mexico. Europe 
was astonished, Napoleon was stunned, by the news. 
Yet, were it not that Zaragoza had to send the brigades 
of O'Horan and Carbajal to deal with the rebellious 
Mexican renegades massed at Atlixco and Matamoras, 
there is little doubt that the Mexicans would have cut 
the French army in pieces. 

' The victory was so unexpected," says President 
Diaz, " that we were completely surprised, and it seemed 
to me like a romance. I wandered over the field that 

146 



BATTLE OF THE FIFTH OF MAY 

night to assure myself that it was all real, contemplating 
the silent testimony of the dead on both sides, listening 
to the talk of our men around their fires, and catching 
glimpses of the distant lights of the enemy's encamp- 
ment." 

General de Lorencez was in a rage. He had. been as- 
sured, both by the French Minister, M. Saligny, and by 
the traitor Almonte, that all he had to do was to advance 
resolutely into the country, and his soldiers would be 
received with open arms by the people of Mexico, who 
were opposed to Juarez and his government, and would 
shower flowers on their foreign saviors. He expressed 
his indignation in a proclamation to the defeated French 
forces : 

" Soldiers ! Your march toward the City of Mexico 
has been arrested by material obstacles which you had 
no cause to expect, considering what you had been told. 
You were assured, over and over again, that the city of 
Puebla was eager for your presence, and that its people 
would flock out to meet you, carrying garlands of 
flowers. Relying on these deceitful representations, we 
presented ourselves before the city of Puebla." 

The Bishop of Puebla expressed the feelings of the 
Church by forbidding priests to administer the last sac- 
raments to dying Mexican soldiers. 

In spite of every provocation, the Mexican Govern- 
ment sent back all the French prisoners taken at Puebla, 
and even supplied them with money for expenses on the 
way to their own lines. 

But the campaign of slander against the republic was 
pressed more cruelly than ever in Europe, and Mexican 
forbearance and chivalry were interpreted as the evi- 
dence of barbarian cunning. Only a few weeks later, 
for instance, the Duke of Tetuan had the hardihood to 

147 



DIAZ, MASTER OF MEXICO 

read aloud in the Spanish Cortes a letter from Zuloaga 
saying that Juarez intended " to exterminate the whole 
white population of Mexico." 

After the stinging defeat at Puebla, the French re- 
mained for two days at Los Alamos, about eight miles 
from Puebla, where de Lorencez expected to be joined 
by the traitor army under Marquez. But Marquez did 
not arrive. O'Horan, who had been in pursuit of him, 
reached Puebla with 1,500 men to assist Zaragoza, 
whose forces were also strengthened by the arrival of 
General Antillon, with 3,000 men of the Guanajuato 
brigade, who had been marching to the rescue over the 
mountains from the interior. 

So the proud French general, who had declared him- 
self to be the master of Mexico, retreated at full speed 
to Orizaba. He was pursued by the Mexicans, but 
reached Orizaba safely on May i8th. Here he learned 
from Marquez in person that 2,500 Conservative horse- 
men were at hand, but were threatened by a Liberal 
force under General Tapia. General Lorencez sent a 
French column to the assistance of Marquez's men, and 
just as General Tapia was about to win a victory for 
the republic, the French reinforcements changed the tide 
of battle, and the Liberals were defeated. In this way 
the forces of the invading French and the traitor Mexi- 
cans were joined, and the Conservative leaders, from 
that time forth, became acknowledged subordinates of 
the French. 

Another loss suffered by the republican army occurred 
on the night of June I3th, when a Mexican force which 
had been sent to reconnoiter the enemy's position at Ori- 
zaba was surprised on a hill near the city. A young 
French captain, with about 300 soldiers, carried a posi- 
tion occupied by a whole division of Mexicans. The 

148 



BATTLE OF THE FIFTH OF MAY 

Mexicans lost 400 men in killed and wounded, and the 
French captured many prisoners and 7 guns. 

This disaster, due to the exhaustion of the Mexican 
troops and the failure to guard against a night attack, 
completely upset the Mexican plan to capture Orizaba 
and drive the French into the sea before Napoleon could 
send any further help. On the next day, after some 
fighting, the Mexican army retreated to San Andres 
Chalchicomula. 

General Diaz was not yet thirty-two years old, yet 
his reputation, not only as a fighter, but as a commander 
of rare judgment and skill, and a patriot beyond the 
reach of Napoleon's enticements, is indicated by the fact 
that after having three times occupied the front fighting 
position in Mexico's resistance to invasion, he was now 
sent to Jalapa to take charge of the government and 
military command of the state of Vera Cruz, where the 
French army had established itself. 

Napoleon's reply to the defeat of the Fifth of May 
was a formidable one. In September he sent General 
Elie Frederic Forey to Vera Cruz with a strong army. 
General Forey was one of the officers who helped to 
overturn the French republic and put Napoleon in power 
in 1851, and he was also a veteran of the Crimean 
War. When he reached Mexico, the new French com- 
mander found himself at the head of 22,500 French 
soldiers and 50 guns, in addition to 7,000 armed Mex- 
ican Conservatives, under the redoubtable and heartless 
Marquez. 

During the months in which Napoleon prepared to 
drive his army into the heart of Mexico, President 
Juarez attempted to make ready for defense. Before 
the practically irresistible advance of Forey's main army, 
the Mexican forces, which were resting at San Andres 

149 



DIAZ, MASTER OF MEXICO 

Chalchicomula, retreated to the city of Puebla. On 
October 24, 1862, Forey arrived at Orizaba. 

Traitors were busy throughout the republic. One 
day Juarez was startled by the discovery of an attempt 
by Conservatives to steal two cannons from a barracks 
in the capital itself. In the excitement which followed 
the exposure of this treachery, the President decided to 
call General Diaz from Puebla and give him command 
of the republican forces in the City of Mexico. He sent 
one of his ministers to make the offer to Diaz, but the 
soldier replied, " I cannot leave Puebla now. My duty 
is to stay here and fight the French." 

From frontier to frontier, and from ocean to ocean, 
Mexico thrilled with excitement as the French army 
moved through that marvelous landscape of mountain 
and valley which stretches between the tropical low- 
lands of the coast and the high plateau on which Puebla 
and the City of Mexico lie. It was through this scene 
of majestic beauty that Cortes and his conquist adores 
moved against Montezuma's capital. These same val- 
leys were trodden by the United States Army on its 
way to Chapultepec Castle in 1847. Many times had the 
inhabitants seen the tides of war roll up and down the 
green and flowering loveliness that makes a journey 
from Vera Cruz inland an unforgettable experience. But 
behind Forey's glittering army there was a terrible some- 
thing as yet not fully understood. The sinister prestige 
of the house of Bonaparte was in some senses unbroken. 
Napoleon was the archpolitician of Catholic Europe, 
with countless soldiers at his disposal. He could dash 
army after army against those who dared to oppose him. 

All disguise was thrown aside by France. General 
Forey, at the head of his 30,000 men, even abolished 
Almonte's pretended government in a curt newspaper 

150 



BATTLE OF THE FIFTH OF MAY 

paragraph. He moved to his task of founding a new 
empire with a cheerful pride and confidence that seem 
amazing in the light of what ultimately came to pass. 
Still, who could expect a soldier serving a master like 
Napoleon III to realize that nations are not made, but 
grow, and that the love of independence, once alive in 
the hearts of a whole people, cannot be dislodged in a 
battle or two ? 

Forey announced in a stilted proclamation that he 
had come to " free Mexico from the tyrannous dem- 
agoguery of Benito Juarez, against whom, and not 
against the Mexican nation, he was making war." 
Months before that, the sadder and wiser de Lorencez 
had written to his government from Orizaba : " No one 
here desires a monarchy, not even the reactionaries. The 
Mexicans would rather be absorbed by the Americans. 
. . . Not one partisan of monarchy is to be found 
in Mexico. A French occupation of many years will 
scarcely be sufficient to reduce the people to submission." 

Taught by the bitter experience of his predecessor, 
Forey moved slowly and with great deliberation,' and 
it was not until March 16, 1863, that the French arrived 
before the city of Puebla. Forey arrived on the next 
day, took personal command of his 30,000 men, and 
made ready to attack the city, which was defended by 
only 16,000 Mexican troops. 

Meanwhile the Mexican forces, hovering between 
Vera Cruz and the capital, seized letters addressed to 
Jecker, the swindling adventurer whose $15,000,000 of 
bonds were a part of Napoleon's excuse for attacking 
Mexico, and who was secretly in partnership with Napo- 
leon's illegitimate half-brother, the Due de Morny. These 
letters revealed much of the plot against Mexico and 
promised that 45,000 men were to be sent to subjugate 
11 151 



DIAZ, MASTER OF MEXICO 

the republic. President Juarez at once ordered the arrest 
and exile of Jecker and his fellow-conspirators. With 
Forey and his 30,000 troops encircling the doomed city 
of Puebla, it is interesting to read Napoleon's letter to 
the commander in chief of his forces, written as early as 
July 3, 1862, more than eight months before: 

' There will not be wanting people who will ask you 
why we expend men and money to found a regular gov- 
ernment in Mexico. In the present state of civilization 
of the world, the prosperity of America is not a matter 
of indifference to Europe, for it is the country which 
feeds our manufactures and gives an impulse to our 
commerce. We have an interest in the Republic of the 
United States being powerful and prosperous, but not 
that she should take possession of the w r hole Gulf of 
Mexico, thence commanding the Antilles as well as 
South America, and be the only dispenser of the products 
of the New World. We now see by sad experience how 
precarious is the lot of a branch of manufactures which 
is compelled to produce its raw material in a single mar- 
ket, all the vicissitudes of which it has to bear. If, on 
the contrary, Mexico maintains ' her independence and 
the integrity of her territory, if a stable government be 
then established with the assistance of France, we shall 
have restored to the Latin race on the other side of the 
Atlantic all its strength and prestige ; we shall have 
guaranteed security to our West India colonies and to 
those of Spain ; we shall have established a friendly in- 
fluence in the center of America, and that influence, by 
creating numerous markets for our commerce, will pro- 
cure us the raw materials indispensable for our manu- 
factures. Mexico, thus regenerated, will always be well 
disposed to us, not only out of gratitude, but because 
her interests will be in accord with ours, and because 
she will find support in her friendly relations with Euro- 
pean Powers. At present, therefore, our military honor 
engaged, the necessities of our policy, the interests of 

152 



BATTLE OF THE FIFTH OF MAY 

our industry and commerce, all conspire to make it our 
duty to march on Mexico, boldly to plant our flag there, 
and to establish either a monarchy, if not incompatible 
with the national feeling, or at least a government which 
may promise some stability." 



CHAPTER XIV 

DIAZ IS CAPTURED AND ESCAPES 

As the French army and its renegade Mexican allies 
moved toward the doomed city of Puebla, General Zara- 
goza, who had routed the troops of de Lorencez, died of 
typhus fever, and General Ortega succeeded him at the 
head of the republican forces. 

In the small Mexican army of 16,000 men, upon 
which the defense of beautiful Puebla depended, General 
Diaz commanded the second brigade of General Ber- 
riozabal's division. 

Hardly had the French divided into two columns 
and begun to encircle the city, when Diaz, always rest- 
less for battle, and strong in the belief that he gains 
much who strikes quickly, urged Ortega to make a 
sudden attack while the enemy were separated and ab- 
sorbed in the countermarching of the investing move- 
ment. His suggestion was unfortunately ignored, and 
on March 19, 1863, Puebla was completely surrounded. 
With the arrival of heavy French batteries on the next 
day, the famous siege was begun. 

Through the foreign consuls the Mexicans urged 
the French to spare the women and children of Puebla 
from the horrors of a bombardment and siege by allow- 
ing them to leave the city, but the invaders coldly de- 
clined to consent to this act of mercy. 

Before the besieging lines had been completed, Gen- 
154 



DIAZ IS CAPTURED AND ESCAPES 

eral Diaz was approached by Lieutenant-Colonel Manuel 
Gonzalez, one of the bravest of the old Conservative 
fighters, the very officer who had attempted to capture 
Diaz in one of his most desperate sallies in Oaxaca. 
Gonzalez was afterwards President of Mexico. He had 
fought with great valor on the Conservative side so long 
as the struggle was between Mexicans; but with those 
rivers of foreign bayonets pouring around one of the 
noblest cities of his country, and with a Mexican army 
called upon to give battle to an invading force of twice 
its size, Gonzalez brought his heels together, raised his 
head, saluted, and, looking his former foe in the eyes, 
said: 

" I have asked you several times and through dif- 
ferent channels to assist me to get a place in the ranks 
of the Mexican army, with the commission I now hold, 
of lieutenant-colonel. You have refused to help me in 
this, or the government has refused to let you help me. 
To-day is not a time for solicitation. As the enemy is 
here to attack the city, I come to ask you a very differ- 
ent thing a place in the ranks and a rifle. Consider 
that I, like you, am a Mexican, and I claim the honor 
of dying for my country." 

This simple appeal, made by such a soldier, at such 
a time, stirred Diaz deeply. Seizing the hand of Gon- 
zalez, he promised to give him a chance to serve Mexico; 
and presently he made his word good, putting Gonzalez 
at the head of a company to lead an attack on an isolated 
French position, in the presence of General Ortega, and 
afterwards presenting Gonzalez to Ortega, who commis- 
sioned him as a colonel. Seventeen years afterwards 
Diaz made Gonzalez President of Mexico. 

At the beginning of the investment, Forey's siege 
guns destroyed a portion of the San Javier fort, and the 

155 



DIAZ, MASTER OF MEXICO 

French made a -charge, but, although they reached the 
moat, the Mexicans drove them back. The French can- 
non fire was so continuous that the fort was finally bat- 
tered beyond the possibility of defense. The two Mexi- 
can battalions defending the San Javier hill contested the 
advance of the French foot by foot, but on March 2Qth 
four strong columns drove back the little Mexican force, 
which lost 500 men in killed and wounded, and 3 guns. 
The French gained the fort, but the Mexicans continued 
to resist stubbornly behind the bull ring nearby. 

Then came frightful fighting in the streets. The 
Mexicans fought from house to house, and as their 
weak shelters were shattered by cannon fire, they re- 
treated, still fighting. In the midst of this scene of 
carnage General Diaz towered among his hard-fighting 
countrymen. For more than two days he held his own 
against the French, even when the battle became a hand- 
to-hand struggle, and finally beat back a heavy French 
column. 

The fury of that two days' bloody grapple in the 
streets of Puebla, and the courage shown by the Mexi- 
cans, who were greatly outnumbered by picked soldiers 
under experienced officers, was frankly admitted by 
Captain Niox, of General Forey's staff, who afterwards 
wrote : 

''' When a building was ruined they defended the 
ruins. Then they took another position behind, and 
defended that in the same way. So every advance was 
amidst the springing of mines and over blood-stained 
ruins littered with corpses burned by gun-fire." 

The events of Diaz's life have been stirring enough 
in themselves, thrilling and picturesque adventures fol- 
lowing each other with almost incredible swiftness; but 

156 



DIAZ IS CAPTURED AND ESCAPES 

it is the long and unshaken rulership over a people semi- 
brutalized by alternate oppressions and revolutions, giv- 
ing to him an extraordinary, almost mysterious, emi- 
nence among the noble and heroic figures of modern 
history it is this world-wide acknowledgment of his 
breadth and strength as a statesman, that lends such a 
fascination to the early deeds which fixed his name so 
surely in the hearts of his people. At times in his life 
one catches glimpses of delicately poetic sentiment; then 
passions as fierce as a roaring furnace are revealed; he 
seems like a romantic boy, mad for adventure ; he moves 
through the red whirlwind of war, a man of iron, with 
a heart of fire ; again he is all gentleness, mercy, sagacity, 
pardoning his enemies, inspiring peace, and in his white 
old age toiling without rest or complaint for the civic 
regeneration and security of his people. 

He has told something of his part in the siege of 
Puebla : 

" On the night of April i, 1863, I received orders 
to remove my brigade from the square of San Jose, to 
turn over that post to the reserves, and to guard the 
front of the city, facing the enemy from south to north, 
which had been defended until then by General Esco- 
bedo. The line of buildings began on the south with the 
convent of San Agustin, continued in a northerly direc- 
tion to the Hospice, and ended at La Merced. 

" Placing my troops, I spent the whole night inspect- 
ing the blocks and intrenchments, giving communication 
from one to another. I tore down walls where it seemed 
necessary to gain a clear area of fire. Luckily the French 
did not attack during the next day and I took advantage 
of that rest to strengthen the defenses, setting all avail- 
able hands to work." 

When General Diaz relieved General Escobedo, he 
found included in his line of defense the Hospice, which 

157 



DIAZ, MASTER OF MEXICO 

had been seized by the French. Escobedo had ordered 
him not to attempt to recapture the Hospice just then, 
but to take possession of all the adjoining houses still 
within Mexican control. 

" At six o'clock in the evening I began to realize 
that the enemy were undermining us," continues Presi- 
dent Diaz. " The strokes at first appeared to me to be 
distinctly subterranean and to come from the Hospice, 
toward the line of San Agustin, in front of the house 
known as the barracks of San Marcos. However, I was 
mistaken, and soon perceived that the Hospice block 
walls were being bored in order to make a breach for 
cannon, through which the men could fire into the bar- 
rack room of San Marcos. I immediately occupied this 
building, strengthened as much as possible the defenses 
of posts facing the Hospice, and arranged troops to fire 
from the balconies. 

" The attack came soon. At eight o'clock the fire 
of a battery destroyed a grocery shop on the right of the 
porch, but the roof, being very solid and strongly built, 
did not collapse, as the French had probably expected. 
During the cannonading a petard was exploded at the 
door of the porch, but I had strengthened this from the 
inside by a heavy backing of flagstones from the patio, 
and behind it packed a mass of earth. Because of this 
the petard did not break the door, and the French were 
forced to attack through the open breach at the grocery 
shop. These attacks were vigorously repelled for more 
than two hours. 

' There was a perilous and decisive moment when 
the impetuous charge of the French through the breach 
demoralized my soldiers, who began to flee away in dis- 
order, but in the narrowness of the breach they became 
jammed. 

" At this instant I ran forward and discharged a 
howitzer gun, aimed toward the doorway, among the 
French, and the effect at close quarters so terrified them 

158 



DIAZ IS CAPTURED AND ESCAPES 

that they abandoned the courtyard which they had begun 
to enter and made a rapid retreat to the door. 

" Among those who fled were the crew of the how- 
itzer, and I was left alone with a corporal. We were 
reloading the howitzer when a Zouave approached, and 
he would probably have killed the corporal if I had not 
come to the defense. I sought to draw my pistol, but 
it had been so battered in the fighting that it broke in 
two, so that I held nothing in my hand but the stock. I 
flung the useless stock at the Zouave, and it struck him 
in the breast. I advanced to disarm him, but when he 
felt the impact of the stock he probably thought he was 
wounded, as many shots were fired just then, and he ran 
to the door. 

" This revived the spirits of my men ; many of them 
went back to their posts, and from the shelter of a 
fountain in the middle of the courtyard kept up a rapid 
fire on the doorway. I had made a large excavation in 
getting out material for strengthening the back of the 
door. This served well as cover for the enemy. I 
therefore sent Lieutenant Jose Guillermo Carbo up to 
the second floor corridor of the building to fire down 
on the soldiers thus protected. Their fire was so telling 
that the French made no further resistance and retired 
to their positions. 

" All was over at the block of San Marcos at half- 
past ten o'clock that night, after fourteen and a half 
hours of continuous fighting. When the enemy had 
withdrawn I advanced with a sufficient force to close the 
breach their artillery had opened and to restore our earth- 
work defenses. This work cost me several men, for it 
was carried on under the enemy's rifle fire. But at last 
the work was completed." 

That same night the French, in their fierce desire to 
penetrate into the city, attacked another part of Diaz's 
line of defense, employing the same methods. Their 
artillery forced a breach in a wall and their infantry 



DIAZ, MASTER OF MEXICO 

rushed in and tgok possession of the outer courtyard of 
a house and fought savagely to win the inner court also 
from the Mexicans. In spite of his terrific fight of four- 
teen and a half hours at San Marcos, Diaz was imme- 
diately in the thick of the new night struggle. 

" I arrived just as the outer court had been lost," he 
says, " and, assisted by the lawyer Castellanos Sanchez, 
I passed over the old wooden counter at the entrance to 
the inner courtyard, which was defended with some other 
debris; and, flying, I stationed some of my soldiers in 
the inner court. It was defended heroically. As some 
of our platoons of sappers and miners had been left be- 
hind in rooms opening upon the outer court, now in 
possession of the enemy, they continued to fight for 
more than five hours against the French. I had breaches 
made in the walls in order to get into communication 
with our brave men and supply them with ammunition. 
In this way we secured the support of our soldiers who 
had been cut off from us, and finally drove the Zouaves 
back into the street, and I immediately covered with my 
men the breach through which they had entered. This 
operation ended at daybreak on April 3, 1863. The 
lawyer Sanchez distinguished himself by his reckless 
valor." 

Night and day the battle raged in the streets of 
Puebla, which were strewed with the dead and dying. 
The roaring of artillery in the narrow roadways, the 
crashing of shells, the blaze of rifles, the falling of 
cannon-smashed walls, the shrieks of the wounded, the 
fierce shouting of the French and Mexican soldiery as 
they charged against each other or contested the smok- 
ing ruins inch by inch, went on ceaselessly. 

Again and again Diaz distinguished himself by his 
personal bravery and fighting intelligence. 

At dawn on April 3d he had been fighting without 
1 60 



DIAZ IS CAPTURED AND ESCAPES 

rest for about twenty hours and had maintained his line 
unbroken. At nine o'clock of the same morning the 
French cannon opened a breach in the walls of part of 
his position, which, however, he defended successfully. 
Then two companies of Zouaves made a charge through 
the breach in the San Marcos block, which had been 
attacked and repaired the night before. The entrance 
through the porch was defended from the court, and the 
enemy were forced to gather in the wrecked grocery 
shop at the side. But General Diaz had made ready for 
the second appearance of the French in that place. In 
the night he had had ten holes cut in the vaulted roof 
and had placed a Mexican soldier at each hole. Sud- 
denly forty grenades were hurled down among the 
Zouaves, and when the smoke and dust settled, it was 
discovered that they had retired, leaving their dead and 
wounded among the ruins. 

Again, on April 5th, the French made a vigorous at- 
tempt to carry the breach in the San Marcos block, but 
Diaz once more repulsed them, capturing Captain Gal- 
land and thirty wounded Zouaves who were trapped in 
the courtyard when their comrades were driven back. 

The terrors of the siege grew worse daily. Food 
became scarce. The soldiers began to show signs of 
exhaustion. Mining and sapping and house-to-house 
fighting were being pressed in all directions. Men, 
women, and children began to ask for food. In the 
scores of stately churches, from whose altars the repub- 
lican army had been solemnly excommunicated, the 
priests and their supporters tremblingly awaited the re- 
sult of the thunderous ordeal of fire and blood. 

Away beyond the snow-capped, dead volcanoes that 
rose from the plain where Cortes once slaughtered the 
priests and nobles of Cholula, President Juarez and the 

161 



DIAZ, MASTER OF MEXICO 

republican Congress in the City of Mexico eagerly 
sought for news of the siege. 

On the road between beleaguered Puebla and the 
capital was ex-President Comonfort, once more serving 
the republican cause, with 6,000 Mexican recruits under 
his command. It was not until the night of April i3th 
that O'Horan succeeded in passing through the French 
lines to Juarez's government news that the defenders of 
the besieged city were short of ammunition and were 
rapidly approaching the point of starvation. 

Yet in the teeth of this appalling danger, Juarez 
seemed to be complete in his faith of success, and on 
April 22d wrote to Montluc, his consul-general in Paris, 
saying : " I have perfectly understood that only armed 
force would make the Emperor retrace his steps, and 
realize the insanity of his enterprise, since he has ob- 
stinately misunderstood the voice of truth and of reason. 
Understanding the imminent peril which threatens the 
Mexican nationality, the government will prepare all the 
means of defense at its command." 

The confidence of the Indian President was great 
and beautiful, but it could not help the men who were 
battling week after week for their lives and the life of 
the republic, within the French ring of fire and steel 
drawn about Puebla. " The man in the black coat " 
might make the walls of the national palace ring with 
noble phrases and at times awe the talkative Congress 
into silence by his calmness, and Comonfort might rec- 
onnoiter and maneuver on the road to Puebla with his 
6,000 patriots, but General Ortega's cry for relief, which 
came through the besieging lines, found no effective 
answer. 

As the Mexicans grew faint from lack of food, the 
French pushed the battle harder. The attack on the 

162 



DIAZ IS CAPTURED AND ESCAPES 

southwest line became grand and general, the artillery 
fire being prolonged and concentrated. On April 25th 
General Diaz was compelled to meet a terrific assault 
on the Santa Ines convent fort. 

In this attack upon the Santa Ines fort, the French 
hurled more than 1,000 shells against the walls of the 
old convent where General Diaz again won glory for the 
Mexican name. 

At daybreak the enemy opened a prolonged cannon 
fire on all that part of Puebla. The assault against Santa 
Ines was begun from the Meson de la Reja, a building 
which the French had taken a few days before from a 
Mexican force under Sanchez Roman. On the other 
side of the street was the one-story building of San 
Agustin, which faced the Meson de la Reja, but was 
separated from the street by a garden and a low wall. 
The San Agustin structure had a number of low rooms, 
the roofs of which were swept by the French fire from 
the balconies of the Meson de la Reja. 

In San Agustin, Diaz was posted with the battalions 
of Oaxaca and Jalisco. The Oaxaca hero's face was 
black with powder smoke and his uniform was covered 
with dust. In the twilight of the morning the French 
had mined the outside walls of Santa Ines, beside San 
Agustin, and when the mines were exploded the walls 
fell. Over the ruins the Mexicans poured the fire of 
eight cannon and the French replied with a strong bat- 
tery. The air was filled with screaming projectiles, and 
the whole neighborhood shook with the explosions. As 
the French columns charged to gain Santa Ines, the 
fire of Diaz's men in the street trenches was murderous. 
French soldiers crawled on their stomachs to see what 
damage had been done and were shot as they appeared. 
Many times the massed Zouaves staggered back, only to 



DIAZ, MASTER OF MEXICO 

rush forward agafn with cheers. The street was stream- 
ing with blood and clogged with dead and wounded ; but 
the Mexicans maintained their resistance in spite of the 
Zouave rushes in the street and the steady fire of the 
French riflemen in the balconies of the Meson de la Reja. 

Suddenly two columns of Zouaves approached behind 
moving wooden shields, and in this way dashed for- 
ward, separated themselves from their supports, and 
penetrated to the convent of Santa Ines. 

In this moment of supreme danger General Diaz 
led several platoons of his men through one of the doors 
which led to the roofs of the low rooms in the garden 
of San Agustin, and under his fearless leadership the 
platoons advanced over the roofs, under steady volleys 
from the opposite balconies, as far as the street corner. 
Lying down flat, Diaz and his men poured a thick fire 
into the French forces. The Zouaves were paralyzed by 
the fierceness of this new resistance, and the assaulting 
columns reeled and fled back, leaving behind them as 
prisoners the 7 officers and 130 Zouaves who had en- 
tered the convent of Santa Ines and were thus cut off. 

On the next day General Ortega made Diaz a briga- 
dier-general in the permanent army in recognition of 
his personal gallantry in the Santa Ines fight. 

The sufferings of the besieged Mexicans grew more 
horrible. On April 2Qth General Ortega sent word to 
Comonfort that he was almost out of ammunition and 
that he must break the siege or perish. On May 5th 
O'Horan had a sharp encounter with the French, in 
which he lost 21 prisoners. At dawn the Mexicans 
had opened fire in memory of their great victory 
over the French exactly a year before. The besieged 
troops heard firing in the distance, and supposing that 
Comonfort was advancing with relief, General Negrete 

164 



DIAZ IS CAPTURED AND ESCAPES 

sallied out with a division on the left of the Loreto hill. 
But the firing ceased and Negrete returned to the plaza. 

Again and again the Mexicans attempted to break 
through the French lines. Again and again they lis- 
tened and watched for signs of assistance from without. 
General Ortega once more wrote to Comonfort asking 
for assistance in a retreat from Puebla which he planned 
for May i4th. 

Battles occurred every day between the contending 
forces. The tragedy of the situation was indescribable. 
On May I2th a great number of hungry women and 
children, and a few men, carrying white flags in their 
hands, tried to make their escape from Puebla, but they 
were scattered by French artillery fire and fled back to 
the city, through whose streets they ran shrieking for 
bread. On May i4th the besieged Mexicans made a 
desperate sally to get food. The white-faced soldiers, 
weakened by starvation and lack of sleep, frequently 
fainted in the ranks as they advanced. On the I5th 
and 1 6th the French continued to pour a great and 
continuous cannon fire into the city. At ten o'clock of 
the morning of the i6th all the Mexican guns were 
dismounted. 

The last great scene of the siege developed when the 
Mexicans wrecked their guns and ammunition, and as 
the enemy moved into the city, the soldiers who had 
been living on morsels of horse and mule meat, and 
fighting with scanty ammunition against twice their 
numbers, broke their rifles and swords in sight of the 
French, stripped off their uniforms in the streets, and 
when the Marquez cavalry entered Puebla between lines 
of white flags fluttering in the windows, the vanquished 
Mexican soldiers openly hissed the traitor's men. 

Comonfort had tried to relieve Puebla, but after los- 

165 



DIAZ, MASTER OF MEXICO 

ing about 1,000* prisoners and 8 guns, he was forced 
to retreat with his remaining 2,500 men, to protect Presi- 
dent Juarez in the capital. 

After the surrender of the starving army of Puebla, 
General Forey offered to allow the Mexican officers to 
remain at liberty in the city if they would give their 
parole not to take up arms or interfere with the govern- 
ment of Mexico again. These terms were indignantly 
declined. Not one of the imprisoned commanders would 
give his word to abandon the republican cause. 

The surrendered Mexican officers, save those who es- 
caped, were sent across the Atlantic and imprisoned in 
various French fortresses. Among them was the gallant 
General Manuel Gonzalez Cosio, now Minister of War 
and Marine, who was so poor when released that he was 
about to volunteer in the United States army, for the 
sake of the war bounty, when a fellow-prisoner relieved 
his distress and enabled him to return to the service of 
Mexico. 

General Diaz, as usual, did not content himself with 
an attitude of passive patriotism. His country was not 
so much in need of martyrs as of fighters. He instantly 
made up his mind to escape before the beginning of the 
march of the Mexican prisoners to Vera Cruz the next 
day. 

" In the evening of May 21, 1863, being in the provi- 
sional prison, I took off my uniform," writes President 
Diaz. " It was just when the friends and relatives of 
prisoners were entering, to bid them good-by. I saw 
that it was an easy thing to pass through the crowd 
without being recognized. I went downstairs, reso- 
lutely covering my face with a serape [Indian blanket], 
and as it was very cold this did not arouse suspicion. 
To prevent the sentry from stopping and examining me, 

1 66 



DIAZ IS CAPTURED AND ESCAPES 

I thought it a good idea to speak a few words to the 
officer in charge, so that the sentry might not suspect 
anything. Thus I reached the gate, but found that the 
commander of the guard there was Captain Galland of 
the 3rd Zouaves, who, having been made prisoner by us 
a few days before, had some acquaintance with me. I 
did not speak to him, but simply saluted and reached the 
street without being recognized, although he probably 
had some misgivings, because he at once went upstairs 
to see if I was with my companions. Some of these 
also succeeded in escaping captivity, either from the 
prison or on the road, and a few reached Europe." 

Once away from prison Diazjiad some trouble in 
escaping, as all the streets were guarded by bands of 
traitors. In this difficulty he encountered a friend who 
led him to his house. There General Berriozabal, who 
had also escaped from the prison, lay concealed. A 
Mexican officer,, who had surrendered to the French, was 
paid by General Berriozabal to smuggle them out of the 
city. All through the night the two generals, exhausted 
by the privations of the siege and tortured by the hu- 
miliation of a surrender to the invaders, fled through the 
mountains. In their anxiety to avoid the roads they lost 
their way, and at daybreak they discovered themselves 
again before Puebla and actually heard the voices of the 
French sentries. They immediately hurried on to the 
town of San Miguel Canoa and introduced themselves 
as Mexican traitors. Knowing that the parish priest 
was a friend of the infamous Almonte, they persuaded 
him to furnish a guide to Tlaxcala. They were pur- 
sued, but managed to elude the enemy and reach the City 
of Mexico. 

The fate of more even than the republic of Mexico, 
perhaps, hung upon that rough flight of the two gen- 
erals; for if Diaz had been captured by Forey and sent 
12 167 



DIAZ, MASTER OF MEXICO 

to a fortress in -France, as the other Mexican officers 
were, the probabilities are that Napoleon's army would 
have crushed the Mexican nation and established a Euro- 
pean empire long before the United States just then in 
an agony of woe over bloody Chancellorsville could 
have been free to intervene. 

After the unconditional surrender of Puebla, both 
President Juarez and the Congress, with the commanders 
of the remaining Mexican troops, knew that it would 
be useless to attempt to resist the advance of the French 
army. There were signs of treason in many directions. 
Ortega's army was taken prisoner. The republic was 
without money or credit. The unspeakable hucksters of 
finance were turning to the conquering French. The 
Church was putting forth all its strength and spending 
its money freely to arouse the spirit of rebellion. It 
was only a matter of days when the capital must be 
given up to the invaders. 

In that day of profound distress, President Juarez 
asked General Diaz to decide who should take the port- 
folio of war in his Cabinet and who should take supreme 
command of the army, himself or General Berriozabal. 
The stalwart young general assured Juarez that he would 
obey any order, but he felt that his youth he was only 
thirty-two years and nine months old and his recent 
rank of brigadier-general in the permanent army, might 
cause older officers, who had served the nation well, to 
become lukewarm or desert if any higher honors were 
bestowed upon him. The one thing now was to save the 
republic. Diaz chose, therefore, to take command of a 
division of the republican army and went to Ayotla, in 
the hills to the eastward, where the French invaders 
must pass in their advance on the capital. Here he 
waited to fall on Forey's army, perhaps in the night time. 

1 68 



DIAZ IS CAPTURED AND ESCAPES 

It is said that Diaz was as eager for the fight at that 
time as though he had never known a Mexican defeat. 
He carried his head high. He walked like a victor. His 
great dark eyes were alive with enthusiasm. He inspired 
his soldiers by his manner. 

But before the hero could give another proof of the 
fighting stuff in him, President Juarez and the Congress 
decided to change the seat of the Constitutional govern- 
ment to San Luis Potosi. The President sent word to 
his army in Ayotla that the government was pulling 
down the flag on the palace and would retire to San Luis 
Potosi. Diaz answered Juarez in a telegram, saying: 

" We may have to wait long for victory, perhaps 
years, but I promise that you will yet raise our flag on 
the palace again. PORFIRIO DIAZ." 

How gloriously he fulfilled the promise made just 
after he had escaped from a pitiable scene of Mexican 
defeat will yet be seen. 

As Juarez and his government retreated northward, 
Diaz was ordered to return to the capital with his divi- 
sion and from there to follow the march of the body of 
the Mexican army under General Juan Jose de la Garza. 
He joined General de la Garza at Toluca, to the west 
of the capital. As the City of Mexico was now occupied 
by the French, the army at Toluca was without money 
and almost without food. De la Garza seemed to be 
dazed by the difficulties of his situation; but Diaz went 
to work with vigor and raised some funds. He then 
started with his division for Queretaro, followed by Gen- 
eral de la Garza, with two wrecked divisions. There 
was mutiny in de la Garza's command and he arrived at 
Queretaro exhausted, the road being strewn with aban- 
doned artillery and materials of war. From Queretaro, 

169 



DIAZ, MASTER OF MEXICO 

de la Garza managed to push on with his troops to the 
republican government at San Luis Potosi. 

Diaz remained at Queretaro until General Berrioza- 
bal, Juarez's new Minister of War, arrived from San 
Luis Potosi and made the young Oaxacan general known 
as the general in chief of the main body of the Mexican 
army. 



CHAPTER XV 

NAPOLEON ENTHRONES MAXIMILIAN IN MEXICO 

Now the great plot contrived in the criminal brain 
of Napoleon III was rapidly developed. The grim 
young Oaxacan general who had escaped from Puebla 
was forgotten in the glory of the French march to the 
Mexican capital. On June 7th General Bazaine, a vet- 
eran of the Carlist and Crimean wars, and one of the 
victors of Solferino he who afterwards was defeated at 
Gravelotte and surrendered Metz with 173,000 men to 
the Prussians reached the City of Mexico with the van 
of the French forces. Two days later General Forey 
made his formal entry with the rest of his troops and the 
armed Mexican traitors. Beside Forey rode M. de Sa- 
ligny, the intriguing French Minister, and the unspeak- 
able murderer, Marquez. 

Well might the armed creatures of Napoleon smile 
and bow to the crowd that cheered them as they reached 
the capital. The noble Juarez was a fugitive, and Presi- 
dent Lincoln, the friend of the Mexican republic, was 
sorrowfully walking the floor of the White House, wait- 
ing for news of Grant at Vicksburg and praying for the 
victory which came three weeks later at Gettysburg. 

But it was a mistake to forget Diaz, the young repub- 
lican general, not yet thirty-three years old, who was pre- 
paring to make a memorable march down into his native 

171 



DIAZ, MASTER OF MEXICO 

state, where the patriot Indians would assemble at his 
call to resist the French veterans of Magenta and Sol- 
ferino under Napoleon's picked generals. 

Immediately upon his arrival at Mexico City, Forey 
spoke to the Mexican nation in the name of his imperial 
master. Meanwhile he compelled the inhabitants of the 
capital to support his officers, had Napoleon make Mar- 
quez an officer of the Legion of Honor, and indulged in 
an orgy of personal extravagance that amounted to 
almost $50,000 in a few weeks, spending $15,000 for 
looking-glasses and more than $4,000 for flowers. 

The national programme announced by Forey was a 
shock to the Church. It provided that the possessions of 
the clergy nationalized by Juarez, and already sold, would 
remain in the hands of the de facto owners, and that it 
was desirable that there should be a general liberty of re- 
ligions in Mexico. In other words, Napoleon's general 
sought to soften the attitude of the republicans toward the 
invasion of their country by confirming the essentials of 
the pitiless and sweeping Laws of Reform, against which 
the Church and its allies had been fighting in the field 
for three years. 

Thirty-five persons were designated, with authority 
to choose a provisional government of three regents to 
exercise the powers of national administration, and 215 
notables of the capital, who should select a council to 
agree definitely on a permanent form of government for 
the whole country. The government triumvirate con- 
sisted of Juan N. Almonte, Don Pelagio Antonio Labas- 
tida, Archbishop of Mexico ; and General Mariano Salas ; 
with Bishop Ormachea and Don Ignacio Pa von as al- 
ternates. 

The property of all Mexicans who opposed the armed 
intervention of Napoleon was confiscated. Military 

172 



NAPOLEON ENTHRONES MAXIMILIAN 

courts were set up everywhere, with authority to judge 
all questions without appeal, and execute sentences within 
twenty-four hours. 

One of the three regents, Labastida, who was created 
Archbishop of Mexico immediately after President Juarez 
had banished him as a traitor, flew into a violent rage 
because the French insisted upon legalizing the confisca- 
tion of church property formerly ordained by Juarez's 
government. The archbishop resigned from the regency 
and secretly denounced the French in bitter language. 
One of Forey's generals was compelled to threaten La- 
bastida into silence. The preposterous Assembly of 
Notables, picked out by Forey to choose a form of gov- 
ernment for Mexico, met in the capital on July 7th, and 
three days later, in the midst of Napoleon's army, it made 
known the inspiration of its deliberations: 

" First : The Mexican nation adopts moderate and 
hereditary monarchy as its form of government, with a 
Catholic prince. 

" Second : The sovereign will have as his title, Em- 
peror of Mexico. 

:< Third : The imperial crown of Mexico is offered to 
His Imperial and Royal Highness Prince Ferdinand 
Maximilian, Archduke of Austria, for him and for his 
descendants. 

" Fourth : In case, because of circumstances which 
cannot be foreseen, the Archduke Ferdinand Maximilian 
should not come to take possession of the throne which 
is offered to him, the Mexican nation commits itself to 
the benevolence of His Majesty Napoleon III, Emperor 
of the French, in order that he may indicate to it another 
Catholic prince." 

This shameless plan, devised by Napoleon to extin- 
guish the republic forever, and proclaimed as the will of 
the Mexican people by a foreign army whose steel was 

173 



DIAZ, MASTER OF MEXICO 

still wet with the best blood of the country, had been 
carefully prepared by the master of the Tuileries. 

It will be recalled that Gutierrez de Estrada, the Mex- 
ican who set out in 1840 to establish monarchy in Mexico 
through European intervention, married a member of 
Prince Metternich's family and was able to come in con- 
tact with members of the Austrian imperial family. 
This ultimately resulted in a Christmas visit to the beau- 
tiful castle of Miramar on the shore of the Adriatic Sea, 
where the eloquent Mexican was the guest of the Arch- 
duke Maximilian. 

It had been at first thought by the Mexican conspir- 
ators in Europe that the Due de Morny would make a 
suitable prince for Mexico. He was the bastard half- 
brother of Napoleon, upon whom the proposed invasion 
of Mexico seemed now to depend. For some reason the 
idea was displeasing to the Emperor, who vigorously 
objected. Gutierrez de Estrada's visit to Miramar, where 
he attended mass with Maximilian, convinced him that 
the Archduke would make a candidate for the Mexican 
throne acceptable to Napoleon, who, having helped Vic- 
tor Emmanuel to drive Austria out of Italy, would be 
enabled apparently to show friendship to the Emperor of 
Austria by placing the Mexican crown upon his younger 
brother's head. 

It was Gutierrez de Estrada who suggested the Aus- 
trian Archduke's name to Napoleon and who persuaded 
his fellow-conspirators to procure the hearty indorse- 
ment of the Pope. Maximilian was only thirty-one years 
old. He was a tall, slender, and unusually handsome 
man, with a blond beard, pale blue eyes, and red lips. 
As a mere stripling he had commanded the Austrian navy ; 
at the age of twenty-five years he had married the seven- 
teen-year-old daughter of the King of Belgium, Princess 



NAPOLEON ENTHRONES MAXIMILIAN 

Maria Carlota Amelia; later on he had governed the 
Italian territory of Austria, living in great extravagance. 
Afterwards he had retired to the sumptuous castle of 
Miramar, where he and his fair young wife dreamed away 
their time among flowers and books. 

This heir to the throne of the Caesars was of a soft, 
vacillating character, a trifle proud and willful, but poetic, 
romantic, and fond of ease and luxury. A fitter dupe for 
Napoleon could scarcely be imagined. The French Em- 
peror, who sought only a field for his own power and 
glory, desired a crowned tool who could be used or thrown 
aside at will, a mere instrument to serve his purpose in 
opening up a career of conquest in America. As a de- 
voted son of the Church, a solemn believer in the divine 
right of kings, and an archduke of the House of Haps- 
burg, the weak, handsome, and sybaritic young Maxi- 
milian would attract the enthusiastic support of the 
Emperor of Austria and the Pope; the charm of his per- 
son and the, distinction and antiquity of his blood would 
win the Mexicans and flatter their pride. 

Long before the solemn buffoonery of Forey's Assem- 
bly of -Notables in Mexico, Napoleon had secretly offered 
the Mexican crown to Maximilian, with the eager consent 
of Pius IX, who saw in the proposed empire the imme- 
diate restoration of the wealth and power of the Mexican 
Church. 

Notwithstanding the allure of Napoleon's offer, Maxi- 
milian hesitated. His young wife, Carlota, wild with 
ambition and dazzled by the prospect of an imperial 
crown in a land of fabulous riches and beauty, urged him 
to accept. His state of mind may be judged by entries 
in his secret diary, published after his pitiable death, by 
order of his imperial brother, the Emperor Francis 
Joseph : 

175 



DIAZ, MASTER OF MEXICO 

" Must I separate myself forever from my own beau- 
tiful country ? . . . You speak to me of a scepter, a pal- 
ace and power. You set before me a limitless future. 
Must I accompany you to far shores beyond the great 
ocean? You desire that the web of my life should be 
wrought with gold and diamonds. But have you power 
to give me peace of mind? Do riches confer happiness 
in your sight? Oh, rather let me pursue my quiet life 
unseen beside the shadowing myrtle. The study of 
science and the muse are more pleasing to me than the 
blaze of gold and diamonds." 

The execution of Maximilian by a file of Mexican sol- 
diers has given an undeserved pathos to these words ; yet 
they must be taken as the literary musings of a youthful 
egotist immersed in the shallow contemplation of his own 
fickle moods, for when they were written he had already 
agreed to Napoleon's terms, and many months before, ere 
yet the French invaders had fired a shot against the Mexi- 
can republic, he had sent the conspirator Almonte to 
Mexico as an imperial representative, with power to ap- 
point officers in the Mexican army and to confer titles 
upon his Mexican subjects. 

The departure of a Mexican deputation to offer the 
Mexican crown to Maximilian in the name of the Mexi- 
can people was a pompous farce, intended to give an ap- 
pearance of historical right to the great crime arranged 
by Napoleon. This committee was headed by Gutierrez 
de Estrada himself, who, after intriguing against the re- 
public for more than twenty years, was now the spokes- 
man of the conspirators who pretended to express the 
will of the nation they were betraying to the imperial 
criminal at Paris. 

On October 2, 1863, Maximilian received the Mexi- 
cans at Miramar. On the next day Gutierrez cle Estrada, 
in a long speech, offered the Mexican crown to him. At 

176 



NAPOLEON ENTHRONES MAXIMILIAN 

this time the French army occupied little more than the 
country stretching from Vera Cruz to the City of Mexico, 
with a few other cities, and French courts-martial were 
imprisoning, flogging, and shooting those who had dared 
to oppose the intervention, while the loyal masses of inhab- 
itants throughout the country were sending messages of 
sympathy and respect to President Juarez. 

The slender, fair-haired Archduke made a shrewd 
show of diffidence when the Mexicans picked out by Na- 
poleon's general offered him the crown of a yet uncon- 
quered country. For months Mexican traitors and mal- 
contents, soldiers, bishops, priests, had been received at 
stately Miramar, where an altar to the Virgin of Guada- 
lupe, the patron saint of Mexico, was artfully placed in 
the Archduke's bedroom. 

With his hand upon his heart Maximilian declared 
that he would accept the throne of Mexico only on con- 
dition that the will of the Mexican nation should be as- 
certained by a popular vote. Thereupon Gutierrez de 
Estrada and his associates went straight to Napoleon III, 
who at once ordered General Bazaine, the successor of 
Forey in command of the invading army, to secure a vote 
of the Mexican people. 

The Emperor of Austria was opposed to the gorgeous 
adventure proposed for his brother, but found it difficult 
at that time to overcome Napoleon's cunning. Mr. 
Motley, then the American Minister at Vienna, explained 
the difficulties of the situation in this way : 

" That a prince of the House of Hapsburg should be- 
come the satrap of the Bonaparte dynasty, and should 
sit on an American throne, which could not exist for a 
moment but for French bayonets and French ships, is 
most galling to all classes of Austrians. The intrigue 
is a most embarrassing one to the government. If the 

177 



DIAZ, MASTER OF MEXICO 

fatal gift is refused, Louis Napoleon, of course, takes it 
highly in dudgeon. If it is accepted, Austria takes a 
kind of millstone around her neck in the shape of grati- 
tude for something she didn't want, and some day she 
will be expected to pay for it in something she would 
rather not give." 

In a characteristic letter to Oliver Wendell Holmes 
Mr. Motley gave this gay picture of the prince selected 
to found an empire in a land of incessant and universal 
revolutions : 

' There is no glory in the grass nor verdure in any- 
thing. In fact, we have nothing green here but the 
Archduke Maximilian, who firmly believes that he is 
going forth to Mexico to establish an American empire, 
and that it is his divine mission to destroy the dragon of 
democracy and re-establish the true Church, the right 
divine, and all sorts of games. Poor young man ! . . . 

" Maximilian adores bull-fights, rather regrets the In- 
quisition, and considers the Duke of Alva everything 
noble and chivalrous and the most abused of men. It 
would do your heart good to hear his invocation to that 
deeply injured shade, and his denunciations of the igno- 
rant and vulgar Protestants who have defamed him." 

It is hardly necessary, in the circumstances, to say 
that the so-called popular vote taken in the small part of 
Mexico occupied by French troops was a sham. It was 
sufficient, however, to satisfy Maximilian, who on April 
9, 1864, renounced his Austrian rights, and on the next 
day announced his acceptance of the Mexican crown. 

He took the imperial oath with great ceremony ; a 
Te Deurn was sung and a royal salute fired. The Mexi- 
cans present went on one knee and kissed his hand, and 
he immediately revived the Sacred and Knightly Order 
of Our Lady of Guadalupe, bestowing the grand cross 



NAPOLEON ENTHRONES MAXIMILIAN 

upon Gutierrez de Estrada, General Tomas Mejia, and 
the blood-stained Marquez. 

Then Maximilian publicly authorized a Mexican loan 
of 8,000,000, the contract for which he had secretly; 
signed in Paris some weeks before. This agreement with 
Napoleon, which had been privately discussed and agreed 
upon while General Bazaine was pretending to take a vote 
of the Mexican people, provided that Maximilian should at 
once receive 8,000,000 francs. It also provided that the 
expenses of the French invasion, 275,000,000 francs, 
should be paid by Mexico ; that all future expenses of the 
French occupation should be borne by Mexico; that the 
French army should be gradually reduced to 25,000 men, 
to be supported by Mexico; that the supreme command 
of all troops in Mexico, both native and French, should 
be held by French officers, and that Mexico should pay 
in full the old French claims presented in 1862, and 
satisfy the claims of French subjects for losses sustained 
in connection with the invasion. 

It is said that there were several secret compacts 
made with Napoleon, among them an agreement to give 
to France the strategically important territory of the 
great state of Sonora, but the precise details of Maxi- 
milian's covert surrenders to Napoleon have never been 
responsibly ascertained. 

The extravagance of Maximilian and Carlota had 
swept away their fortunes and even Miramar was heavily 
mortgaged. Not only did Maximilian receive the 8,000,- 
ooo francs advanced to him by Napoleon's consent but 
he was able to pay 1,500,000 francs of debt on the castle 
of Miramar. Besides this, 1,800,000 francs was provided 
for a Belgian legion, and 2,500,000 francs for an Aus- 
trian legion to accompany him to Mexico. Practically 
all that was left of the 8,000,000 of bonds was turned 

179 



DIAZ, MASTER OF MEXICO 

over to Napolecfh's agents, save 1,000,000 retained for 
the treasury of Mexico. 

Maximilian's allowance of $125,000 a month and the 
Empress Carlota's allowance of $16,666 a month 
amounting to $1,700,000 a year, to be taken from the 
bankrupt Mexicans began on the day of his acceptance 
and oath. 

Before accepting the Mexican crown Maximilian had 
made a tour through Europe. He now went to Rome, 
and as Emperor of Mexico received the blessing of the 
Pope. He had already conferred with Napoleon about 
the government of the new empire. 

Fresh from the interview with Pius IX, the young 
Emperor and Empress of Mexico it is convenient to 
call them by these titles sailed with their suite on the 
Austrian man-of-war La Novara, and arrived in the har- 
bor of Vera Cruz, May 28, 1864. They were welcomed 
with elaborate ceremonies, processions, flowers, and 
shouting. Bazaine and the Church had strained every 
resource in the effort to make the entry of the new sover- 
eign brilliant and impressive. The ceremonies at Vera 
Cruz and Mexico City cost more than $115,000, and 
more than $101,000 were spent on improvements in Cha- 
pultepec Castle to fit it for an imperial residence. While 
still at Miramar, Maximilian had abolished the regency, 
but when he reached Mexico, Almonte, the head of the 
regents' government, turned over to him $300,000 of 
public funds, whereat he appointed Almonte to the post 
of Master of Ceremonies. 

There was a glittering pageant in the Cathedral of 
Mexico on June i2th, when Maximilian and Carlota were 
solemnly enthroned. They went to live in Chapultepec 
Castle and set up a court of theatrical splendor. The 
imperial dining service of solid silver and gold cost 

1 80 



NAPOLEON ENTHRONES MAXIMILIAN 

a round million of dollars. The gilded state carriage, 
which required four horses to draw, cost $47,000. It 
may be seen to-day in the National Museum of Mexico, 
side by side with the pathetic little old black carriage in 
which President Juarez moved about with his govern- 
ment while Maximilian and Carlota made merry with 
Mexican millions. 

It is said that about $5,000 in Mexican gold coin was 
handed on a gilt plate to Maximilian every morning, and 
about $500 was presented in the same way to Carlota 
each day. 

The new Emperor scattered money right and left. 
In five months he spent $319,670 on horses and car- 
riages, livery and harness, and even bestowed $75,000 
for a court theater, although his troops were crying for 
money. 

Napoleon had invaded Mexico because the republic 
had failed to pay the interest on its debt and had con- 
fessed its bankruptcy. Yet the Austrian youth whom he 
had placed upon the Mexican throne had begun his reign 
by fastening on the nation an annual expenditure of $36,- 
681,000, including international obligations, interest on 
the home debt, allowances to the Emperor and Empress, 
religious worship, pay of the army, the civil list, pensions, 
and the secret service. As there was no possibility of a 
national revenue of more than $16,000,000 a year, it 
will be seen that the new empire began with an assured 
yearly deficit of $20,000,000. 

Maximilian sent a minister to Great Britain with a 
salary of $40,000 a year. He sent a minister to France 
with the same salary. Marquez, the assassin of unarmed 
prisoners, was sent to Constantinople to procure a firman 
from the Sultan for a convent of Mexican nuns at 
Jerusalem. 

181 



DIAZ, MASTER OF MEXICO 

While Maximilian and Carlota played the game of 
empire with borrowed money, the court swarmed with 
rascals and sycophants. The Emperor was assured by 
Bazaine that Mexico was practically conquered. The 
French general, who received a marshal's baton from 
Napoleon in August, seemed to bend his efforts to lull 
Maximilian into a sense of safety, and the young Emperor 
spent his time in dilettanteism. 

The complete conquest of Mexico was left to Bazaine, 
who had nearly 30,000 French soldiers and something 
like 28,000 Mexican troops, in addition to the Austrians 
and Belgians ; and the country was brutally ravaged, while 
Maximilian, a poet and the master of six languages, col- 
lected and classified beetles, butterflies, and plants; de- 
ciphered archaeological inscriptions, or consecrated his 
time to the subtleties of court etiquette, although the 
bishops were frowningly demanding the restoration of 
Church rights, and the serious affairs of government were 
in the confusion of procrastination. 

Bazaine was drenching the country with blood. 
The Church was angrily protesting against the inaction of 
the government, and there were signs of a grave Clerical 
defection. 

But the Emperor, pleased with the seemingly unlim- 
ited wealth at his disposal, and relying on French tales 
of easy victory over the republican forces, continued 
light-heartedly to neglect pressing state questions and 
studied the costumes of court attendants, directed the uni- 
forms of ornamental halberdiers to serve at Chapultepec 
Castle, and pursued his researches in botany and entomol- 
ogy, while the captivating Carlota planned private theatri- 
cals and dances with her French maids of honor, or rode 
on horseback dressed in a brilliant Mexican costume. 

The Archbishop of Mexico and the other prelates in 
182 



NAPOLEON ENTHRONES MAXIMILIAN 

vain demanded that Maximilian should keep faith with 
the Vatican by revoking the Laws of Reform, restoring 
the property of the Church, reviving the religious orders, 
forbidding any other worship than that of the Catholic 
religion, and confiding all educational work exclusively 
to the supervision of the Church. 

The young Emperor of Mexico smiled and continued 
to invent new devices for the ornamentation of his court. 
With grim Bazaine and his 50,000 men hunting the re- 
publicans in their mountains, Maximilian's one absorbing 
thought was how to reign gracefully, charmingly. 

The Pope sent a nuncio from Rome to Mexico with 
a solemn letter of remonstrance. Even then Maximilian 
refused to undo the work of Juarez, and Bazaine indorsed 
his attitude, for the sales of ecclesiastical property would 
furnish money for the war. The nuncio finally addressed 
to the Emperor a communication couched in such arro- 
gant terms that Maximilian's ministers, after supporting 
his decision to continue the sales of church property under 
the old law of mortmain, and to tolerate all religions in 
Mexico, replied to the haughty envoy of the Vatican: 

" Maximilian, a citizen and member of the Christian 
communion, bows with respect and submission before the 
spiritual authority of the common father of the faithful ; 
but Maximilian the Emperor and representative of the 
Mexican sovereignty does not recognize any power on 
earth superior to his own. . . . The Emperor and the 
Pope have both received directly from God their full and 
absolute power, each within his respective limits. Be- 
tween equals there can be no subjection." 

This, while Mexico was a red abyss of war. 



13 



CHAPTER XVI 

DIAZ KEEPS THE REPUBLIC ALIVE IN THE SOUTH 

PRESIDENT JUAREZ and his government were driven 
steadily and helplessly northward, from San Luis Potosi 
to Saltillo, to Monterey, across the desert to Chihuahua, 
and thence to the frontier village of Paso del Norte, 
1,100 miles from the capital. 

The long-suffering but unbendable Indian patriot 
continued to assert the dignity of his office and the just 
authority of the Constitutional republic as he rolled along 
the rough roads in his dusty black carriage, wedged in 
his seat between valises and packages of state documents, 
while his faithful body servant and coachman, Juan 
Udueta, sometimes wept as he saw the lines deepen in 
his master's stoic, coppery countenance. 

From the very day on which General Diaz received 
at Queretaro command of the main body of the Mexican 
army, after his escape from the French at Puebla, he be- 
gan, with General Berriozabal, a serious reorganization 
of the forces, remodeling into single battalions each two 
or three of the diminished battalions, repairing armament 
and materials for artillery and transportation, collecting 
mules, establishing schools for officers, drilling troops, 
and promoting everything necessary to restore to the 
army the military form which it had been losing. 

It was finally decided that General Comonfort, who 
had been Secretary of War, should relieve Diaz in that 

184 



DIAZ KEEPS THE REPUBLIC ALIVE 

region, so that he might be able to throw himself into 
other places and open the campaign for the repulsion 
of the invaders from Mexico. Soon after this, Comon- 
fort was trapped by Marquez's bandit followers and de- 
liberately murdered. 

In the end it w r as ordained that General Diaz, with 
the first division of the army, should undertake the ter- 
rible march southward to Oaxaca, through the states of 
Queretaro, Mexico, and Guerrero a country teeming 
with armed robbers and traitors to establish his head- 
quarters at the city of Oaxaca, and from there to organ- 
ize a new army corps for the East. In effect, the in- 
domitable young soldier, who only ten years before was 
a humble law student studying at the feet of Benito 
Juarez, with an income of twelve and a half dollars a 
month, was given command over the states of Oaxaca^, 
Vera Cruz, Chiapas, Tabasco, Yucatan, and Campeche, 
which command was later on to be extended over the 
states of Puebla and Tlaxcala. 

It was a formidable task. The division of 2,800 
men, with which Diaz had to cross a vast territory, 
already entered by the enemy's forces, was practically 
the hope of the oppressed republic. Thirty thousand 
French troops and traitor Mexicans were distributed be- 
tween Toluca, Mexico City, and Puebla. Bazaine was 
sending columns in all directions to the interior and 
toward the state of Guerrero. If the nucleus of the 
republican army should be destroyed, all chance of sav- 
ing the southern and eastern states from Napoleon would 
then be gone. 

With that awful responsibility resting upon him, 
General Diaz executed an elliptic strategic march from 
Queretaro to Oaxaca, keeping in constant touch with the 
movements of the French and skillfully avoiding conflicts 

185 



DIAZ, MASTER OF MEXICO 

with them, but several times fighting bodies of Mexican 
traitors, as at Taxco and Iguala. During Jhj^march, 
on October 14, 1863, he received his commission as JL 
general of division, the highest rank in the Mexican 
army. 

The appearance of the three tired and weather-worn 
republican brigades in Queretaro, and the stern attitude 
of their young general, produced grave political con- 
sequences. 

" I arrived in Oaxaca in the last days of November, 
1863," says President Diaz, " and my arrival discon- 
certed Governor Cajiga, and his secretary, Esperon, 
since they had effected a sort of truce with the French 
[who had advanced from Puebla as far as Tehuacan]. 
They realized that this truce would have to end with my 
presence, since I came for the very purpose of organizing 
and waging war. The governor, having been informed 
of the object of my march, and the authority vested in 
me by the Federal government, sent to me a communi- 
cation, saying that he would not put himself under my 
orders, because the powers delegated to me by the gen- 
eral government were unconstitutional ; and he asked me 
if I was disposed to use force in carrying out the orders 
of President Juarez. I answered that in these circum- 
stances our arms had no other object than to defend the 
nation from foreign invaders and traitors, and that I 
placed in the second category anyone who resisted com- 
pliance with the orders of the Federal government. In 
the face of this, Governor Cajiga resigned his office in 
the presence of the Legislature, which then dissolved, 
leaving the State without a head. On this account I 
assumed the government of the state of Oaxaca on 
December i, 1863, and named as my secretary Don 
Justo Benitez [Diaz's old schoolmate and almost foster- 
brother], but rinding that my duties as governor took 
up much of my time needed for the army, on February 
12, 1864, I named as Governor of the State General Jose 

1 86 



DIAZ KEEPS THE REPUBLIC ALIVE 

Maria Ballesteros. Benitez acted as my military sec- 
retary." 

Diaz organized a new brigade of infantry, composed 
of the Morelos battalion, the Juarez battalion, and the 
Guerrero battalion, and gave the command to General 
Cristobal Salinas. The command of the second brigade 
he gave to Colonel Francisco Carreon, and he appointed 
Captain Guillermo Palomino general commandant of 
artillery. To the brigade of cavalry he added the regi- 
ment of Oaxaca lancers commanded by his brother, Lieu- 
tenant-Colonel Felix Diaz, and a squadron of the Na- 
tional Guard of Tehuacan. He also organized a good 
medical corps. 

When Diaz attacked the outposts of the French 
forces, the French commander at Tehuacan, not know- 
ing of the change of government in Oaxaca, sent a note 
to him complaining of violations of the agreement that 
there were to be no hostilities till the nation could de- 
cide if it would accept foreign intervention. 

After some months of threatening French prepara- 
tions, the signs of accumulating foreign troops grew so 
ominous that Diaz drew back his forces around Oaxaca. 
Then a column of the enemy, headed by General Courtois 
de Hurval, and another column marching from another 
direction, led by General Brincourt, advanced against 
Oaxaca. 

Before this, Diaz had been compelled to send 800 
of his soldiers under General Salinas to protect the state 
of Chiapas, which had been invaded from Guatemala by 
a force of Mexican traitors under Juan Ortega and the 
fighting Franciscan friar, Victor Maria Chanona. In 
this way Diaz swept the imperialists from Chiapas. His 
troops defeated the enemy at Ixtapa, on January 4, 1864, 



DIAZ, MASTER OF MEXICO 

besieged them af San Cristobal seven days later, and 
captured that place on January 22d. 

With French generals gathering their veterans to 
overwhelm him, Diaz had already succeeded in holding 
Oaxaca for the republic and rescuing Chiapas, even 
when the invaders were in possession of its capital. 

He was completely cut off from Juarez and his gov- 
ernment, and was compelled to govern according to his 
own discretion, at a time when his officials had to move 
about the country constantly to escape capture by the 
enemy. So great was his influence, so deeply did he 
stir the hope and faith of the republicans in the South, 
and so decisive was the effect of his heroism and energy 
upon states that might otherwise have been neutral in 
the war for Mexican independence, that even after his 
army was crushed and scattered, and he himself was a 
helpless prisoner, the spirit of republican resistance 
aroused by him could not be extinguished in the South. 

It was a time of republican despair in the North. 
Twice had General Tomas Mejia, the brave and intelli- 
gent little Indian soldier who served Maximilian against 
his own country, defeated the forces of General Negrete, 
who tried in vain to protect the headquarters of Juarez 
and his ministers. Juarez had fled from San Luis Potosi 
to Saltillo, but on reaching that place he discovered that 
General Vidaurri, the governor of Nueva Leon and 
Coahuila, was attempting to surrender those states to the 
French and refused to recognize the Constitutional 
President. Juarez denounced Vidaurri as a traitor, and 
the unfaithful governor fled to the United States. 
Whereupon Juarez established his government at Mon- 
terey, from whence he was driven through a parched 
wilderness to Chihuahua, and then to the extreme fron- 
tier of the country. 

1 88 



DIAZ KEEPS THE REPUBLIC ALIVE 

Meanwhile Bazaine was driving all before him in 
other directions. Having aggregate forces of about 
63,000 men, he sent one column of 8,000 men, including 
the traitor Marquez, under the command of General 
Castagny, to march through Toluca and Acambaro up 
to Morelia in Michoacan; and another column of equal 
strength, under General Douay, was to advance by way 
of Queretaro and Lagos, and reach Guadalajara. Later 
on Bazaine caught up with Castagny's column, leaving 
General Neigre in charge at Mexico City. The repub- 
lican forces were scattered and broken. 

It was at this time that General Neigre innocently 
stirred up a row which practically ended in the excom- 
munication of the French troops, when he asked Arch- 
bishop Labastida to indicate chapels where the Protes- 
tant soldiers of his force might worship. 

General Castagny had to modify his operations and 
sent Marquez to Morelia, who occupied it on November 
3, 1863, after General Berriozabal had retired with his 
republican soldiers. 

General Douay reached Guadalajara and prepared 
to enter it on December 8th, and Bazaine with the forces 
of Castagny arrived at Siloa on December i2th, in pur- 
suit of the republican general Doblado, who, uniting with 
General Uraga, had 10,200 men in Piedra Gorda. But 
the two republican generals separated their forces. 
Doblado marched north and Bazaine abandoned the pur- 
suit. Douay marched against Uraga, but that general 
made a swift advance against Marquez at Morelia, 
where he attacked the enemy on December i8th with 
great fury. Marquez was wounded in the face during 
the battle, but he resisted desperately, and Uraga, having 
left 800 republicans dead and wounded on the field, re- 
treated by way of Zamora. He maneuvered skillfully 



DIAZ, MASTER OF MEXICO 

toward the Pacific, coast, and on January 2, 1864, man- 
aged to reach Zapotlan el Grande (Ciudad Guzman), in 
the state of Jalisco. 

In the meantime Bazaine advanced, and on January 
5, 1864, occupied Guadalajara, which had been evacuated 
on the previous day by General Arteaga, who moved on 
to join General Uraga at Zapotlan el Grande. 

The republican armies were being hammered to 
pieces or driven northward. There were few supplies 
and almost no means of paying troops. The leaders of 
the various expeditionary forces of Juarez's government, 
having no center of action, and being separated by im- 
mense distances, were forced to make war on their own 
account, living hungrily on a poor country. 

As the imperialist armies pressed northward, and in 
advance of them went broadcast news of Maximilian's 
successes everywhere, the republicans began to waver. 
Even General Uraga, who had 8,000 men under his com- 
mand in Jalisco, showed signs of vacillation. Colonel 
Ramon Corona, convinced that Uraga was unfaithful, 
withdrew from him. Then General Arteaga declared 
Uraga to be a traitor and refused to recognize him. At 
this, General Uraga, having been exposed, fled with two 
squadrons to the enemy. That part of the republican 
army, demoralized by plot and sedition, was reduced to 
only 4,000 soldiers in June, 1864. 

General Gonzalez Arteaga, with 1,500 men, marched 
from Saltillo and joined President Juarez, who was also 
joined by General Patoni with a small division. Juarez 
being in a position to retreat to Chihuahua, Arteaga and 
Patoni advanced to threaten the capital of Durango, 
already occupied by the French general L'Heriller. 
Meantime the French general Castagny had reached 
Monterey, and General Mejia, with his Mexican rene- 

190 



DIAZ KEEPS THE REPUBLIC ALIVE 

gades, had seized Matamoras at the mouth of the Rio 
Grande River. 

On September 21, 1864, the forces of Arteaga and 
Patoni were attacked and defeated at Majoma. The 
Mexicans retreated in good order, but that night, al- 
though not menaced, they disbanded. They had not been 
fed for two days, and when night fell and there was no 
food, they broke their ranks and scattered. 

When Juarez heard of this new disaster, he and his 
government moved out across the desert, accompanied 
by an escort of about 200 men. Still the great Zapotec's 
heart was strong within him as he sat in his stained and 
grimy carriage in that long, jolting journey of 400 miles 
through a scorched cactus wilderness, with his men fall- 
ing on the road day by day. They arrived in Chihuahua 
on October i2th. 

Corona and Rosales, in Sinaloa, were struggling to 
maintain their republican forces against a powerful 
French expedition, which was advancing against Mazat- 
lan on the Pacific coast with 5,000 men from Losada 
and a squadron by sea. 

General Arteaga, hemmed in by Douay and Mar- 
quez in the south of Jalisco, suffered a defeat at El 
Chiflon, retreated to Michoacan, was routed at Jiquilpan, 
and with the remnant of his forces united with Generals 
Regules and Riva Palacio, who were struggling hard to 
the south and east of Morelia. 

It was in this dark hour of his country's history that 
General Diaz, cut off from news of what was happening 
in the rest of Mexico, became the strong right arm of 
the almost beaten Mexican republic. 

As the two French columns advanced on Oaxaca, 
Diaz left General Escobedo to watch one column, while 
he made a secret march of a day and part of a night to 

191 



DIAZ, MASTER OF MEXICO 

San Antonio Nanahuatipan, where his scouts reported 
the main body of the French to be, on their way to Oax- 
aca with a detachment of infantry and artillery. 

" At nine o'clock on the morning of August 19, 
1864," says President Diaz, " I arrived at San Antonio 
Nanahuatipan, after a secret march, unperceived by the 
enemy, who occupied that small town. I struck them 
roughly, doing much damage to a battalion bathing in 
the river; but, as the French soldiers had their arms 
stacked, after the surprise they made a very vigorous de- 
fense. They left en the field the greater part of their 
clothing and accoutrements and many naked dead, as 
they all fought naked. I had given orders to Colonel 
Espinosa y Gorostisa, who had faced this same French 
expedition at Cuicatlan, that he should come up to San 
Antonio Nanahuatipan with his battalion, two light 
mountain guns, a company of the Juarez battalion, and 
a squadron commanded by Colonel Ladislao Cacho; but 
he was prevented from reaching me, and because of this 
lack of troops I had to retreat, with considerable losses 
in officers and soldiers; but the enemy did not venture 
to follow me." 

After this fight with naked French soldiers, Diaz re- 
turned to Oaxaca and also withdrew General Escobedo 
to the city. 

The French, taught by experience to beware of 
Diaz's keen strategy and thunderbolt methods, did not 
advance again for some time, but continued to con- 
struct two great roads, while Diaz threatened them and 
watched them with his scouts. 

The invading army, gathering for the attack on Oax- 
aca, grew stronger. The hearts of the people in the 
regions governed by Diaz sank. His resources dwindled 
and deteriorated. The soldiers not under his immediate 
command became demoralized. 

192 



DIAZ KEEPS THE REPUBLIC ALIVE 

A great despair settled upon the republican cause. 
The French and their traitor allies had driven back the 
patriot forces in the North. Juarez and his ministers 
were wanderers. The Constitutional government was 
sinking under repeated defeats and treasons. Even 
Uraga and Vidaurri, the republic's trusted generals, had 
become deserters. 

With his little force in Oaxaca, the spirit of the sol- 
dier who was yet, in the long years to come, to lead Mex- 
ico into a path of safety, peace, progress, and honor, 
seemed to grow loftier. 

The republic could not die while the sword of Diaz 
was unsheathed. 



CHAPTER XVII 

THE EMPEROR MAXIMILIAN TRIES TO TEMPT DIAZ 

CONVINCED that General Diaz was the key to Mexico, 
Maximilian resolved to tempt the hero to abandon the 
republic and serve the empire. 

The romantic young Emperor in the midst of his gay 
court began to feel the grisly, nameless terror of slow, 
papal condemnation. 

Having an incurable levity of judgment, and being 
unable to appreciate the passionate love of Mexican in- 
dependence which lay at the heart of the republican cause, 
he even invited Juarez to accept office from his hands, 
and had the audacity to offer the incorruptible President 
a safe-conduct in order that they might meet. To which 
Juarez replied : 

" It is impossible for me to accede to this call ; my 
official occupation will not admit of it. But if in the 
exercise of my public functions, I could accept such an 
invitation, the public faith, the word and honor of an 
agent of Napoleon, the perjured, would not be sufficient 
of a man whose safety rests in the hands of Mexican 
traitors, and of a man who at this moment represents the 
cause of one of the parties who signed the treaty of 
Soledad." 

But now, with Juarez a distant fugitive, with the re- 
publican cause in the North dying of a thousand wounds 
and treacheries, and the populace cowed by barbarous 

194 



MAXIMILIAN TRIES TO TEMPT DIAZ 

massacres and the plundering and burning of houses and 
villages, it seemed to Maximilian and Bazaine that the 
one supreme barrier standing in the way of the empire 
was General Diaz, who not only presented a stubborn 
fighting front in Oaxaca but was keeping the heart of 
the South on fire. Under the leadership of the young 
Oaxacan general, the patriot Indians seemed to fight with 
extraordinary bravery. 

There came to Diaz's ears whisperings that, the em- 
pire being an established fact, it would be well that Maxi- 
milian, instead of being advised by dangerous men, should 
be surrounded by Liberals, who might incline him to 
their general ideals. General Uraga and General Vidaurri 
had gone over to the Emperor. Instead of opposing 
Maximilian, would it not be wiser, in the interest of the 
whole nation, to take a place in his forces and enable him 
to put into effect the inward sympathy which he felt for 
the struggling patriots of Mexico? The lawyer Manuel 
Dublan [afterwards in President Diaz's Cabinet], a rela- 
tive and intimate friend of Juarez, appeared in Oaxaca 
and went to see General Diaz, offering him a high post in 
the empire under Maximilian. In effect Dublan carried 
a letter of credentials signed by Juan Pablo Franco, who 
had been named as superior political prefect of Oaxaca 
by Maximilian. In the Emperor's name he said that, if 
Diaz would support the imperial government, he might 
rctafrrcommand of those states which formed his line of 
operations in the East, and that no foreign troops would 
be sent to them. 

" I was indignant in the face of these infamous propo- 
sitions," says President Diaz. " They caused me all the 
greater anger because they were presented to me by a 
man who had family and personal relations with Presi- 
dent Juarez, and who had received distinctions from the 

195 



DIAZ, MASTER OF MEXICO 

Liberal party. I- immediately sent to have him arrested, 
so that he might be shot. Finally the influence of Don 
Justo Benitez and General Salinas saved his life. Hap- 
pily, in time, he lived this down and rehabilitated himself 
as much as possible, putting his clear intelligence at the 
service of the republic in an opportune occasion, with 
success." 

Maximilian and Bazaine well knew the decisive in- 
fluence of Diaz's heroic personality and commanding gen- 
eralship in the continuance of the struggle, and the Em- 
peror sought to approach him in every way. Having 
been frustrated in the attempt to seduce him from his 
duty through the lawyer Manuel Dublan, Maximilian 
tried the expedient of approaching him through the un- 
faithful Mexican general, Uraga, who had abandoned 
the republic for the empire. 

President Diaz, in his memoirs, tells the story of this 
last effort to reach his patriotic conscience through a gen- 
eral under whom he had served in many battles and for 
whom he had had a deep affection and admiration : 

" General Don Jose Lopez Uraga, who, in command 
of republican troops, had gone over to the enemy, and 
was employed near the person of Maximilian, sent to me 
his adjutant, a man who had been chief of my staff, and 
was now serving the empire. He handed to me a letter 
dated Mexico City, November 18, 1864, in which Uraga 
invited me to follow him in his desertion, and offered to 
leave me in command of the states along the Eastern 
frontier, with an agreement that he would not embarrass 
me with foreign soldiers, except at my own request. I 
had had great esteem and respect for General Uraga 
but I was fully determined that neither this nor any other 
influence should make me hesitate in the fulfillment of 
my duty. For the rest, Uraga had lost by his conduct 
the respect with which he had formerly inspired me. 

196 



MAXIMILIAN TRIES TO TEMPT DIAZ 

" It would, I thought, be a good opportunity to test 
the temper of my subordinates if I showed them the in- 
vitation that General Uraga had sent to me. I called a 
meeting of the generals and colonels under my command, 
and read to them the letter and my reply warning Gen- 
eral Uraga that a second envoy, no matter what his mis- 
sion, would be dealt with summarily as a spy. On the 
same day I sent a report of what had happened to all the 
governors and military leaders of the Eastern lines." 

It is interesting, in the light of subsequent history, 
to read the cunningly contrived letter upon which Napo- 
leon's crowned puppet relied to turn the stainless sword 
of Diaz against his country: 

" MEXICO, November 18, 1864. 
" Senor General Don Porfirio Diaz. 

" VERY DEAR FRIEND : It would make a long story to 
tell all that I have suffered by reason of my party. Luis 
[Uraga's secret messenger] will tell you something; but 
let it be enough for me to say that without any idea of 
fighting, nor of leaving the country south of Jalisco, nor 
of limiting myself to taking from the people only that 
which might be necessary for subsistence, everyone was 
hoping for and seeking a fortune in the revolution, and 
this while he had no intention of fighting, and, indeed, 
intended to be the hindmost. 

" I did not consider that this was serving the coun- 
try, nor defending our cause, nor honoring our principles ; 
and not being able to take ship or get away at any point, 
I surrendered in June to the Emperor, acknowledging 
nothing, but in the earnest hope of ending the war. I 
acted wrongly, because I acted with distrust. But now 
that I proclaim our principles here, that I am listened to, 
that I contend on a legal field, and that I see how noble, 
how patriotic, how progressive and how illustrious the 
Emperor is, I tell you, my friend, that our cause is the 
cause of the man who, a lover of his country and its 

197 



DIAZ, MASTER OF MEXICO 

sovereignty, looks only for the salvation of its independ- 
ence and its integrity. He [Maximilian] is here fight- 
ing with honor and loyalty for our own principles, neither 
extenuating them by apology, nor denying them, nor 
abandoning them. 

" If I had seen any danger to our independence or the 
integrity of our territory, I swear to you I would have 
died in the mountains rather than have acknowledged 
anything, and if I should have had the cowardice to come 
here I should have had the good faith to say to you, ' It 
is necessary to fight.' But it is not so, Porfirio. I believe 
that you will do me justice, you who know me, and that 
you will accept my view of the circumstances. We lose 
ourselves, and we shall lose our nationality, if we continue 
this unfruitful war without result. Everything will come 
into the power of the Americans, and then what shall we 
have for a country? Until now you have a name clean, 
honored, and respected, a good reputation and the means 
of doing much in the cause of progress, entering frankly 
and nobly into the work. To-morrow, fighting for the 
selfish interests of worthless men, for the intrigues pro- 
duced by their pride, and to rescue a situation now en- 
tirely changed, nothing will be left to you not even a 
name of glory. 

" I send to you Luis, whom you know. This and 
my name, are they not a guarantee of frankness and loy- 
alty? Luis will talk to you. I am here for everything 
you may wish, and when you come and see what is going 
on and return to your post and your forces, if you do 
not agree with what I say, or that I say what is most ex- 
pedient, then say what you think would be better, and I 
will co-operate in everything. Let us remain united. If 
we have lost the system, let us not lose the principles, and, 
above all, the country, in its integrity and independence. 

" Adios, dear Porfirio. You know how I have loved 
you, with what frankness I have always talked to you, 
and that I am the friend who loves you and kisses your 
hand. 

" JOSE L. URAGA." 
198 



MAXIMILIAN TRIES TO TEMPT DIAZ 

Deserter though he was, Uraga had trodden many a 
battlefield with Diaz and knew him too well to believe 
that anything but an appeal to his love of country could 
move him. In shrinking from making any suggestion 
of a bribe, either of wealth or rank or power the com- 
mon means employed by all who served Napoleon the 
traitor paid a significant tribute to the patriot. 

The reply of Diaz to the tempter, through whom 
Maximilian sued for his sword in the name of patriotism, 
is one of the most interesting and eloquent documents in 
the wonderful story of Mexico. Notwithstanding the 
obviously strong emotion which moved General Diaz 
when he wrote his reply to Uraga, it will be observed 
that in addressing the deserter his sleepless military in- 
stinct prompted him to exaggerate the strength and ex- 
tent of his forces. Following is the letter : 

" Senor Don Jose Lopez Uraga, Mexico. 

" MY FORMER GENERAL AND ESTEEMED FRIEND : 

11 With indefinable pleasure I opened my arms to 
Luis [the messenger], and fixed my gaze on what you 
were pleased to send to me by him, because I had believed 
that his coming and his mission might have had another 
object; but, although the disillusion was as prompt as it 
was painful, and Luis has offered to me to talk to you 
frankly and fully, I have to answer you, if not at great 
length, yet with all fidelity. 

" I am very grateful for the mediation you see fit to 
offer me, for if, indeed, I lament the errors which have led 
to this step, I understand all the foundation of esteem 
and appreciation it comprehends. 

" I will not constitute myself a judge of your acts, 
because I should lack the necessary impartiality, and be- 
fore submitting you to justice, I should embrace you as 
a brother and should promise that you could retrace your 
steps. 

14 199 



DIAZ, MASTER OF MEXICO 

" But if you can, according to your judgment, explain 
your conduct, I should not be able to explain mine, be- 
cause the means at my disposal, the troops and people 
who aid me who, as you tell me, were adverse to our 
cause in the Center are in the East so many pledges of 
our unfailing triumph. 

" The personnel of my forces is of the same kind 
as that of the brigade I commanded at Puebla; and you 
know that in few places have the French met with such 
resistance as in the state of Oaxaca. I have also troops 
from other states, but they are so absolutely identical 
w r ith the rest in their morale, discipline and enthusiasm, 
that they deserve to be considered as their equals. 

" In the Eastern states there is maintained an admin- 
istrative organization so vigorous, and so scrupulous in 
its accountability, that its limited resources provide us 
with the necessaries of life without it being necessary for 
us to take them from the people, or for me to find myself 
in the pain of having to allow pillage or extortion. The 
French, after the resistance of Puebla, have done nothing 
but take a triumphal walk about the interior ; and I prom- 
ise myself that in Oaxaca, if destiny reserves such a 
triumph for them, it is going to cost them much, and can 
be accomplished only by crushing us by superior numbers. 

" But it will not be long before we ourselves may 
obtain the victory, and the whole republic will the next 
day convert itself into a vast barrier. The struggle may, 
it is true, be prolonged, like that which at the opening 
of the century made us free and independent, but the 
result is certain. 

' You do me the justice, for which I also thank you, 
to believe that I hold an honored and clean name, which 
is all my pride, all my patrimony, all my future; yet to 
the salaried press I am no more than a bandit, nor shall 
I be anything else to the Archduke Maximilian and the 
invading army; and I accept with calmness and resigna- 
tion that my name should be smirched, without repenting 
that I have consecrated myself to the service of the 
republic. 

200 



MAXIMILIAN TRIES TO TEMPT DIAZ 

" I grieve in my soul that, having separated yourself 
from the Army of the Center, with the intention of not 
compromising yourself in the politics of the foreigners, 
you should have been magnetized by the Archduke, and 
in time may unsheathe in his defense the sword which 
in other days you have given to the country; but if it 
should be, I shall at least have the consolation of having 
continued in the ranks in which you taught me to fight, 
and whose political symbol you engraved on my heart in 
words of fire. 

" When a Mexican presented himself to me with the 
proposals of Luis, I ought to have had him tried accord- 
ing to the laws, and not to have sent to you in reply more 
than the sentence and a notice of the death of your envoy. 
The great friendship you invoke, the respect I have for 
you, and the memories of better days, which bind me so 
intimately to you and to that common friend, relax all 
my energy and convert it into the weakness of returning 
him to you safe and sound, without the least word of 
odious recrimination. 

" The test to which you have subjected me is a very 
grave one, because your name and your friendship con- 
stitute the only influence (if there be one) capable of 
dragging me to deny all my past, and to tear with my 
own hands the beautiful flag, emblem of the liberties and 
independence of Mexico. Having been able to answer 
this test, you may believe that neither the crudest disil- 
lusions nor the greatest adversities will ever cause me the 
slightest vacillation. 

" I have spoken to you almost exclusively of myself, 
but not because I have forgotten my meritorious comrades 
in arms, nor the heroic towns and states of the East 
which have made so many sacrifices for the defense of 
the republic. 

' There is no room to doubt the loyalty of such wor- 
thy soldiers, nor of public opinion, loftily spoken and 
converted into decisive deeds at Tabasco, in Chiapas, in 
Oaxaca, and even at Vera Cruz and Puebla. As you 
know, the two former states have thrown out of their 

201 



DIAZ, MASTER OF MEXICO 

bosom the imperialists; the third does not permit them 
to take a step in their territory; and in the fourth and 
fifth, the fires of war are maintained over an extensive 
zone. 

" Do you think that I could without being a traitor 
to my duties dispose of the fate of my comrades only 
to make my own secure ? Do you think that they would 
not demand of me, and with reason, a narrow account of 
my disloyalty, and that they would not be able to sustain 
themselves alone, or to confide their leadership to another 
more constant and complete than he who had abandoned 
them? So it is then, that neither by myself, nor by the 
distinguished personnel of the army, nor by the towns of 
this extensive part of the republic, can the possibility of 
a reconciliation with the foreign invasion be thought of, 
resolved as we are to fight without truce, to conquer or 
die in the challenge in order to bequeath to the generation 
which succeeds us the same free and sovereign republic 
which we inherited from our fathers. 

''' Would to God, General, that making no compro- 
mise, you might return in time to take up the defense of 
such a noble and sacred cause. That in the meantime you 
may be well-preserved is the sincere desire of your very 
attentive friend and faithful servant, 

" PORFIRIO DIAZ. 
" OAXACA, November, 1864." 

This ringing reply to Maximilian's secret cozenings 
not only stirred the patriotic fighting -spirit of the repub- 
lican leaders, to whom it was at once published, but it 
warned Bazaine that the South and East could not be 
taken 'by treacherous negotiations, and that he could only 
hope to overcome Diaz by fighting. 

The French field marshal decided to take the field in 
person, at the head of a strong army, against Oaxaca 
and its untemptable young general. 

The assembling of a sufficient force to crush Diaz 
without delay was an imperative necessity to Napoleon's 

202 



MAXIMILIAN TRIES TO TEMPT DIAZ 

plans. Although the republican army in the North had al- 
most disappeared, and President Juarez and his ministers 
had retreated to a point from which they might easily 
escape into the United States, it was important that the 
imperialists should strike a final decisive blow in Mexico 
and Maximilian's reign be accepted everywhere. 

The tide of war had changed in the United States. 
Lashed to the mast of his flagship, Farragut had won 
Mobile Bay ; the Union had taken Atlanta ; Sherman had 
started on his dread march to the sea ; Sheridan had swept 
the Shenandoah Valley ; and Abraham Lincoln, the friend 
of Juarez and the Mexican republic, had been elected 
President a second time, carrying every free state but 
New Jersey. 

The remorseless voice of events called insistently for 
the destruction of Diaz and the subjugation of Southern 
Mexico before President Lincoln could be free to confront 
Napoleon with the Monroe Doctrine, backed by an irre- 
sistible army. 



CHAPTER XVIII 

DIAZ, TAKEN PRISONER, AGAIN ESCAPES 

NOT only did Marshal Bazaine consider it necessary 
to take command in person against Diaz, whom the Em- 
peror had failed to corrupt or persuade, but with more 
than 10,000 picked men, gathered for the capture of 
Oaxaca, he had large siege guns carried on men's shoul- 
ders to make the investment overwhelming. 

The struggle for the possession of Oaxaca which 
ended with the imprisonment of Diaz began on Decem- 
ber 1 8, 1864, when Colonel Felix Diaz, at the head of 
the Oaxaca Lancers, had a bloody fight with the van- 
guard of the united French columns of Generals d'Hur- 
bal and Brincourt near Etla, in which Major Basilio 
Garzo killed the Count de Loire. Colonel Diaz inflicted 
heavy losses on the French and pursued them for three 
leagues, but on meeting the main body of the enemy, 
which opened fire with artillery, was forced to retreat. 

Some days after this General Diaz learned that Ba- 
zaine was on the way to Etla over the Mixteca road, with 
an escort of 500 Zouaves, 300 cavalry, and a half battery 
of cannon. It seemed to him that a brigade of cavalry 
could strike Bazaine effectively before he joined his main 
forces threatening Oaxaca, and he ordered a certain offi- 
cer to move with a brigade to meet Bazaine. The plan 
was carefully laid, and Colonel Felix Diaz, who was to 
have shared in the attack, did his duty with customary 

204 



DIAZ, TAKEN PRISONER, AGAIN ESCAPES 

valor ; but for some mysterious reason the officer in com- 
mand of the cavalry disappeared on the night before the 
attack was to have occurred, taking with him the North- 
ern Legion and the San Luis Lancers to the hills of 
Tetela, in the state of Puebla, and the deserter did not 
return to Diaz. 

This inexplicable desertion upset Diaz's plans, for 
he could not count on the help of cavalry outside of the 
city, the small body of horsemen under his brother's 
command being too weak to undertake operations against 
the enemy. He had thought of fortifying and defend- 
ing the city, using the cavalry to keep open a way 
through which he might obtain outside help. 

The general even considered the question of risking 
all in one fight, instead of shutting himself up in the 
Oaxaca fortifications. If beaten, he could retreat to the 
mountains, leaving the enemy nothing but the heavy ar- 
tillery. But lie had only^ 2,800 men with which to fight 
Bazaine's mobile army of 10,000. 

Time was flying and the French were approaching. 
One of Diaz's generals knew his idea of an open battle 
and somehow the thing became known among the in- 
ferior officers. The result was confusion. The officers 
advised that the city should be defended. Diaz's inten- 
tion was to surprise his own soldiers by giving them a 
battle formation in front of the enemy, and then in one 
audacious onslaught to rush them to the conflict with- 
out giving time for reflection. But the plan was spoiled 
by lack of secrecy on the part of the important officer 
to whom it had been divulged. 



" After this," says President Diaz, " nothing was left 
to me but to accept the siege, as the enemy was already 
near. I might even then have abandoned the city and 

205 



DIAZ, MASTER OF MEXICO 

undertaken a retreat by way of the mountains, but it 
would have been an exceedingly perilous adventure, for 
no transportation had been prepared because of my for- 
mer arrangements, in which I counted on help from the 
outside ; and now, with the enemy in sight, there was no 
time in which to improvise new plans. 

" I never supposed that the result of the siege would 
be victory, but I believed that the defense would be a long 
one and that we should be able to damage the French 
greatly. I was also certain that the city would not be 
taken by assault if I could maintain the garrison at any- 
thing like its existing strength but it kept decreasing 
when it was known that our cavalry had .deserted. This 
desertion in the face of the enemy greatly depressed the 
spirits of the men." 

For a terrible month and a half Diaz withstood the 
French siege. Gradually Bazaine contracted his lines 
about the city. His forces grew stronger by reinforce- 
ments, while the garrison of Oaxaca grew weaker by 
deaths and desertions. With the loss of his cavalry, the 
numerous mountain bands of National Guards, who had 
now no means of protection in reaching him, were in 
hiding or had dispersed. The republican troops at 
Tehuantepec, upon which he had relied for some help, 
were known to be disaffected. Diaz's soldiers were fight- 
ing without hope against four times their numbers. 
Again and again he attacked the French to delay their 
operations. The bombardment of the town was terrific 
and almost continuous. Bazaine was using four-inch 
mortars in addition to his other heavy artillery. Food 
was scarce in Oaxaca. Traitors were at work among 
the soldiers. One day, while the French were attacking, 
Major Adrian Valadez shouted to his men to jump their 
trench and go over to the enemy. Thus Diaz lost an 
officer and 100 men. Colonels Toledo and Corella had 

206 




PRESIDENT DIAZ AND His SON IN CHAPULTEPEC PARK. 



DIAZ, TAKEN PRISONER, AGAIN ESCAPES 

great difficulty that day in dealing with their demoral- 
ized soldiers. Soon after Lieutenant-Colonel Modesto 
Martinez deserted, but was killed by a French sentry 
who mistook him for a spy. 

On February 8, 1865, the situation in Oaxaca was 
appalling. The garrison had exhausted its supply of 
food and ammunition. For many days the population of 
the city had been begging for food, and their constant 
complaints further depressed the soldiers. 

Diaz moved about his native city, encouraging, com- 
manding, and doing his utmost to check the general spirit 
of despair. He had done everything in his power. He 
had melted church bells into cannon balls. He had even 
put a howitzer in a tower of the convent of San Fran- 
cisco and had remained with it until the members of his 
staff dragged him away. But finally his officers de- 
clared that it was impossible for a garrison so small and 
demoralized to stand an assault by Bazaine's strong and 
well-armed troops. 

" In this condition of complete demoralization a de- 
fense of the city was no longer possible," says President 
Diaz. " I could not sacrifice my men uselessly. We 
had no reserves of any kind. At this time not even 
1,000 effective men remained. We could not reply to 
the enemy's fire in the decisive attack which I now knew 
to be imminent. I therefore decided to surrender. 

" As I went through the plaza, there was a bombard- 
ment and cannonade, which indicated a simultaneous 
attack on our more remote posts and fortifications. 
'Mounting my horse, I rode out that night to explain 
to General Bazaine, in his quarters at Montoya, that 
the attack he was preparing would be unnecessary." 

Throwing aside all customary precautions, he went 
direct to Bazaine, without even sending an adjutant in 

207 



DIAZ, MASTER OF MEXICO 

advance to announce him. His one fear was that the 
field marshal's craving for glory might lead him to take 
the now helpless city by assault rather than to accept a 
bloodless surrender. He believed that by going at once 
to the French headquarters he might prevent the need- 
less slaughter. 

As Diaz rode out of his fortified lines at ten o'clock 
at night, accompanied by Colonels Apolonio Angulo and 
Jose Ignacio Echegary for he was determined to have 
witnesses at his interview with the unscrupulous French 
general he moved rapidly toward Montoya. In the 
darkness they were challenged by the outpost, and one 
French sentinel fired, but Diaz shouted that they were 
not armed, whereupon they were conducted to Bazaine's 
headquarters at Montoya. 

The field marshal did not rise w r hen Diaz entered his 
quarters, but sat at a table covered with papers, a severe 
look upon his heavy, arrogant face. Without a moment's 
hesitation the Mexican leader strode forward and sa- 
luted. Bazaine returned the salute coldly. Diaz looked 
his conqueror steadily in the eyes, and with much dignity 
declared that he had come to avert unnecessary blood- 
shed. Although he had entered the French lines without 
a flag of truce and without any guarantee of his personal 
safety, there was not the slightest sign of embarrassment 
in his bearing. The two officers who attended him say 
that he bore himself serenely in the presence of Bazaine. 

" When I explained to General Bazaine that the city 
could no longer make a defense and that it was now 
at his disposition," says President Diaz, " he seemed to 
consider it to be a submission to the Empire, and an- 
swered that he was glad that I realized my error, which 
he considered a grave one because it was criminal to 
take arms against one's sovereign. I answered that it 

208 



DIAZ, TAKEN PRISONER, AGAIN ESCAPES 

was my duty to say to him that I would neither support 
nor even acknowledge the Empire, and that I was as 
hostile to it as I had been at the cannon's mouth, but that 
resistance was now impossible, and additional sacrifice 
was useless, for I was without men or arms. An expres- 
sion of displeasure suddenly came into his face and he 
reproached me for breaking the agreement I had signed 
at Puebla, not to take up arms in opposition to the Inter- 
vention. 

" I declared that I had not signed such an agree- 
ment. General Bazaine immediately ordered his secre- 
tary, Colonel Napoleon Boyer, who was present, to bring 
the book containing the documents signed in Puebla. 
His secretary searched for my name, and began to read 
in a loud voice. Not only had I refused to sign when the 
book was presented to me in Puebla, but I had even de- 
clared that I would not sign because there were sacred 
obligations to my country which I would fulfill as long 
as I was able to do so. 

" As the secretary reached this answer which I had 
made, he ceased reading and handed the book to Gen- 
eral Bazaine, who read the lines and closed the book 
without saying another word about the matter." 

In his private memoirs the future President of Mex- 
ico describes how he turned over his native city to the 
invaders, and adds simply, " The state of my mind in 
that act of my life may be imagined." 

Extraordinary precautions were taken immediately 
by the French to prevent the escape of a prisoner whose 
power to maintain Mexican independence had been so 
impressively demonstrated. On his way to Puebla as 
a prisoner of war, Diaz was literally hemmed in on all 
sides by Zouaves and traitor Mexican cavalrymen, who 
were prepared to kill him at the first sign of an attempt 
to escape. Although his heart was heavy with the 
thought that he had yielded the city in which he was 

209 



DIAZ, MASTER OF MEXICO 

born to the foreign invaders, his face was calm. Even 
then, an unarmed prisoner, surrounded on all sides by 
hostile faces and cold, shining steel, and ignorant of 
what his immediate fate might be at the hands of men 
who had slain his countrymen everywhere in cold blood, 
he was dreaming of an hour when he might once more 
gain the open country and rally the oppressed and scat- 
tered patriots of Mexico to the rescue of their republic. 

It was a long and rough journey, and as the brilliant 
cavalcade of French troops and Mexican renegades 
moved through the green valleys and over the wild, 
rocky hills, the terrified peons stood in their villages and 
silently watched the hero of Oaxaca, the hope of the re- 
public, riding with brave face in the midst of his enemies 
back to conquered Puebla. 

When Diaz and his officers reached Puebla they were 
turned over for safekeeping to the Austrian forces, 
who placed them in three different prisons, confining 
the generals, colonels, and lieutenant-colonels in the 
fort on the Loreto hill, outside of the city. Presently 
they were joined by other republican prisoners, among 
whom were Generals Santiago Tapia and Francisco O. 
Arce. Here they were held for many weeks. 

President Diaz says that while he and his fellows 
were imprisoned in the Loreto fort representatives of 
Maximilian rebuked them for their obstinacy and asked 
them to give their parole not to take up arms against 
the Intervention or the Empire. Although most of the 
Mexican officers yielded to this pressure, Diaz refused 
to sign the pledge or to compromise his right to fight for 
his country. Among those who stood with Diaz in this 
refusal were General Tapia, Colonel Sanchez, and Cap- 
tain Ramon Reguera. Sanchez's answer to the proposal 
was so offensive that he was removed to a dark cell. 

210 



DIAZ, TAKEN PRISONER, AGAIN ESCAPES 

The French even threatened to shoot some of them in the 
effort to extort a promise not to draw their swords again 
in the cause of Mexican independence. 

After three months in the fort the imprisoned officers 
were removed and shut up in the strong convent of Santa 
Catarina. By pretending to have quarreled with his 
cellmates, Benitez and Ballesteros, Diaz managed to get 
a cell for himself. 

Never for an instant had the hero relinquished the 
idea of escaping and resuming the struggle for inde- 
pendence. All through the months in the Loreto fort he 
had concentrated his mind night and day in an effort to 
devise some plan through which he might once more face 
the invaders and traitors sword in hand. 

Now that he was alone he at once began to work 
toward freedom. His cell was over a chapel in which 
a holy nun had lived. There was in this chapel a well 
whose water was said to be miraculous. With such 
implements as he could get, the general bored a hole in 
the solid cement of the floor under his bed, where it 
would not be noticed, and then began to cut a horizontal 
tunnel through a strong wall toward the street. He 
managed to hide the excavated material in the well. It 
was slow, painful work, but it at least kept hope alive. 
Occasionally the Austrian guards saw the prisoner kneel- 
ing on the floor of his cell in his well-worn gray uni- 
form and kepi, the Mexican field dress, but they paid 
little attention to his movements in such an apparently 
secure place. 

Night after night, through five weary months, Diaz 
toiled from dark to dawn, scraping, digging, boring- 
piercing the wall inch by inch. It was not alone at the 
head of charging troops that he knew how to serve Mex- 
ico. He could gnaw for months in the dark, through 

211 



DIAZ, MASTER OF MEXICO 

cement, earth, and stone, with a patience that never 
yielded to despair. 

No one understood better than he the immensity of 
the issue which seemed to hang upon his agonizing work. 
While in Oaxaca he had received only one communication 
from Juarez's government, and that had been smuggled 
from Chihuahua into the United States through the Con- 
federate lines, and carried to Washington, from which 
point the never-resting Mexican Minister, Don Matias 
Romero, had passed it on to Oaxaca a total distance 
of perhaps 4,000 miles. In the hot summer nights, when 
his hands and arms ached with fatigue, the prisoner 
knew that Juarez, almost without money or troops, had 
been compelled to fly with his government to Paso del 
Norte, on the frontier of the United States. 

The fighting power of Southern Mexico must be 
again aroused and organized. The people would fight 
to the very death against Napoleon, as they had once 
fought against Spain, if they could find a general capable 
of leading them. It was that thought that nerved Diaz 
as he delved in the night toward the outer wall and lib- 
erty, with swollen and aching hands. 

After five months of this secret boring, the Mexican 
officers were suddenly taken from the Santa Catarina 
convent and imprisoned in the Convent de la Compafiia. 
It was a cruel blow to Diaz, yet he showed no signs of 
disappointment or despair, but cheerfully began again 
to plan an escape. This indomitable courage in the teeth 
of adversity is one of the secrets of his extraordinary 
leadership. It is not mere fatalism, but such noble and 
intelligent optimism as roused Robert Bruce from de- 
spair when he drew the lesson of perseverance from a 
patient spider in the island of Rathlin. 

There was inspiration, too, in the news from the 
212 



DIAZ, TAKEN PRISONER, AGAIN ESCAPES 

United States. With the surrender of Lee at Appo- 
mattox, on April gth, the monstrous Civil War, in 
which directly and indirectly 1,000,000 lives and per- 
haps $10,000,000,000 were sacrificed, had come to an 
end, and within six weeks the mighty forces of Grant 
and Sherman had been dismissed to their homes. There 
was another tremendous fact in the situation, although 
neither Diaz nor Juarez knew it. On February 3d, only 
a few weeks before Lee's surrender, Jefferson Davis, 
speaking through Confederate commissioners, had pro- 
posed to President Lincoln that the North and South, 
laying aside their differences for a time, should unite 
their armies to expel Napoleon's invaders from Mexico 
and enforce the Monroe Doctrine. 

Diaz had more liberty in the Convent de la Com- 
pania. The Austrian general, Count de Thun, was away 
with troops in the mountains near Puebla, and he had 
left a lieutenant, Baron Juan Csismadia, in command of 
the city. This lieutenant permitted Diaz to go about 
the convent freely, invited him to lunch, and even took 
him to see a bull fight. But the Mexican leader, fearing 
that he might be suspected of sympathy for the imperial- 
ist cause, declined to take any further advantage of 
Csismadia's chivalrous courtesy. 

When the Count de Thun returned to Puebla, he went 
to the convent prison and called Diaz before a court- 
martial. He then grufBy ordered him to sign a letter, 
already prepared by himself, in which Diaz gave in- 
structions to the republican general, Juan Francisco 
Lucas, that the Mexican traitors held as prisoners by the 
republican forces should not be executed for their trea- 
son, as the imperial government desired to exchange 
them for republican prisoners, among them, perhaps, 
Diaz himself. Diaz refused to sign the letter, saying 

213 



DIAZ, MASTER OF MEXICO 

that even if he .were willing to do so, he, as a prisoner, 
could not give orders that anyone would be obliged to 
obey. 

" Count de Thun answered reproachfully," says Pres- 
ident Diaz, " that it was strange that I should not be 
willing to sign the letter when I had actually signed a 
dispatch in prison and sent it to General Don Luis Perez 
Figueroa. This was true ; I did not deny it. 

" He said that he would never have believed that 
after seven months' imprisonment I could be so insolent. 
My custodian, Baron Csismadia, had run the risk, by 
allowing me so much liberty, of doing much harm to the 
imperial government, if I had profited by his favors and 
escaped. 

" I answered that apparently Csismadia knew better 
than he the character of honorable Mexican officers, with 
whom Count de Thun had little acquaintance, as he 
judged them by the character of traitors who accepted 
Maximilian's service. I also said to him that the guar- 
antees to Baron Csismadia were sufficient between men 
of honor. 

' That day the Count de Thun went into the prison 
and commanded that all the shutters should be nailed up, 
leaving the cells without light. Our confinement was 
more rigorous. The guard was increased day and night 
and the sentries were ordered to enter the prisoners' cells 
every hour." 

It was this harsh personal persecution by the Count de 
Thun that increased Diaz's anxiety to escape promptly. 

Meanwhile Maximilian had visited Puebla and made 
another attempt to negotiate for the sword of his heroic 
prisoner. The young Emperor had quarreled with the 
Pope, and now, with a swiftly drying treasury, he was 
being pressed by the conspirators of Paris to pay the 
bogus French claims, including the infamous Jecker 

214 



DIAZ, TAKEN PRISONER, AGAIN ESCAPES 

bonds, in which Napoleon's bastard brother was person- 
ally interested. The cost of supporting foreign troops 
in Mexico was increasing enormously. The budget of 
the Mexican empire for the year had reached the im- 
mense sum of $205,000,000. Preparations were being 
made to place a new Mexican loan of $50,000,000 in 
Paris, although the bonds issued in the previous year 
were selling at twelve and a half cents on the dollar. 
Maximilian had in February considered the possibility 
of abdication, and in June had privately written : " Guan- 
ajuato and Guadalajara are threatened. The city of 
Morelia is surrounded by enemies. Acapulco is lost, 
and provides by its excellent position an always open 
road to feed the war and supply the enemy with arms 
and men." 

The commanding general sent for Diaz one day, and 
when the prisoner appeared in his old gray uniform he 
was told that the Emperor would like to have a personal 
talk with him and would make a visit to the prisoners, 
during which time a special visit would be made to him. 

" If Maximilian comes to me," answered Diaz 
sternly, " he must remember that I will refuse to recog- 
nize him as an emperor and will address him only as 
' Sefior Archiduque.' ' 

Presently he was informed that he might go secretly 
in a carriage to see Maximilian. This roused the soldier. 

" Say to Maximilian," he answered, with spread nos- 
trils and burning eyes, " that if he desires to have me 
go to him, I must be taken as a prisoner between armed 
men." 

It was not a mere desire for personal liberty that in- 
spired Diaz to escape from the thick-walled convent in 
which he was confined. He had managed to communi- 
cate with trusted friends and knew that the hour had 
15 215 



DIAZ, MASTER OF MEXICO 

come for action in the field. The eagerness with which 
the imperial usurper sought to gain his support, renew- 
ing his efforts in the face of repeated affronts, proved to 
him the importance which his leadership had in the eyes 
of the enemy. Knowing that it was a vital necessity to 
avoid all cause of conflict with other Mexican generals, 
he took care, long before attempting to leave his prison, 
to send his friend and former secretary, Justo Benitez, 
to Washington to communicate through the Mexican 
Minister, Don Matias Romero, with President Juarez in 
distant Paso del Norte. He explained how he had been 
compelled to surrender the city of Oaxaca to Bazaine, 
announced that he was ready to escape and take the field 
again, asked authority to reassume command of the Army 
of the East, and urged the republican government to 
send him 5,000 rifles with ammunition, together with a 
little money to support his soldiers. He proposed to 
take Oaxaca again, and asked that more arms should be 
sent to him after that event. 

The escape was planned for the night of September 
15, 1865, which was the anniversary of Diaz's thirty- 
fifth birthday, but when he realized that it was also the 
night before the anniversary of Mexico's Independence 
Day and that the streets of the city would be lit up for 
the festival, he changed the date to September 2oth. 

By this time the prisoner had succeeded in having a 
horse and equipment secretly bought for him, and these, 
with a guide and servant, were ready for him at a par- 
ticular house. Two of his prison confidants, Colonel 
Guillermo Palomino and Major Juan de la Luz En- 
riquez, persuaded the other officers to play cards on the 
night planned for the flight, in order to distract their 
attention from Diaz's movements. 

This thrilling adventure, which was a turning point 
216 



DIAZ, TAKEN PRISONER, AGAIN ESCAPES 

in modern Mexican history, has been told with fas- 
cinating simplicity by President Diaz in his memoirs : 

" In the afternoon of September 20, 1865, I rolled 
up three ropes which I had secretly secured to help me 
in my escape. I put another rope, with a well pointed 
and sharpened dagger, in my bag [the ropes were 
passed to him concealed among his clothes]. The dag- 
ger was the only weapon I had at my disposal. After 
the bell rang for silence in the prison that night I went 
out on an open balcony near the roofs, overlooking an 
inner courtyard of the convent. It was a place used 
by all the prisoners, and the sentries paid little attention 
to movements there. It was a very dark night, but there 
was clear starlight. 

" I had the three ropes wrapped in a gray cloth, and 
when I was sure that nobody was near I tossed them to 
the adjoining roof. I then threw the other rope over 
a projecting stone gutter above and secured it; this was 
difficult to do because there was not enough light to per- 
mit me to see things very distinctly. 

" When I had tested the strength of the rope and the 
gutter and was satisfied that my weight would be sup- 
ported, I climbed up to the roof. Then I unfastened 
the rope and tied it to the other three ropes which I 
had thrown up from below. My walk over the roofs to 
the corner of San Roque, the point I had selected for 
descending to the street, was exceedingly perilous. Fac- 
ing me was the roof of a church, so high that it over- 
looked the entire convent. Here a detachment and a 
sentry were stationed for the purpose of watching the 
convent prison. 

" Before I had taken many steps I reached a part 
of the roof where there were many turnings. Each of 
the convent cells was built inside of a semi-circular arch, 
and there were corridors between these arches. Ad- 
vancing and taking advantage of every possible shelter, 
sometimes crawling on my hands and knees, I groped 

217 



DIAZ, MASTER OF MEXICO 

slowly in the direction of the sentry, while searching for 
the point at which I was to descend. It was necessary 
for me to move around two sides of the courtyard. 
Sometimes I had to stop and cautiously investigate the 
roof over which I moved, for there were loose fragments 
of glass and tiles which gave out crunching sounds un- 
der my feet. Besides, many flashes of lightning lit the 
sky and threatened to reveal my position. 

" At length I reached that portion of the wall where 
the sentry on the church parapet could not see me, unless 
he stooped down very low to look. I continued to walk 
along slowly and reached a high window which opened 
upon the guard, halting in order to learn if any alarm 
had been raised. I was in great danger here, for the 
flooring sloped and its surface was very slippery because 
of the heavy rains. At one moment my feet slid help- 
lessly to some window panes, which offered but little 
resistance, and I almost went over the precipice. 

" To reach the corner of the street of San Roque, 
where I hoped to descend, I had to pass over a part of 
the convent which was used as the chaplain's house. This 
man had the reputation of having recently denounced 
to the court-martial the political prisoners, who, in an 
effort to escape, had cut an outlet in the direction of his 
house. The result of his denunciation was that they 
were taken out the next day and shot. 

" I let myself down to the roof of the chaplain's 
house just as a young man who lived there went into 
the door. He had, no doubt, come from the theater and 
was merrily humming a tune, and I paused until he had 
time to reach his room. Soon after he reappeared at the 
door with a lighted candle and actually crossed toward 
where I was. I concealed myself so that he should not 
see me and waited till he returned. He went back to the 
house after a few minutes, which seemed to me long 
under the circumstances. When I thought that there 
was time for him to have got into bed, possibly to have 
fallen asleep, I mounted to the front roof of the convent, 

218 



DIAZ, TAKEN PRISONER, AGAIN ESCAPES 

on the side opposite to which I had made my ascent, and 
walked from there to the longed-for San Roque corner, 
which I reached at last. 

" At this corner of the roof was a stone statue of San 
Vincente Ferrer, which I had thought to use in fastening 
my rope. The saint tottered much when I touched him ; 
still I assumed that there was probably an iron support 
to steady him. Yet, for more safety, I did not attach 
the rope to the statue, but tied it around the base of the 
pedestal which formed the corner of the building and 
was apparently strong enough to bear my weight. 

" I judged that if I descended into the street at this 
corner I might be observed by some pedestrian in the 
act of swinging myself down by my rope. Consequently 
I decided to descend on the side away from the principal 
street, which had the advantage of considerable shadow ; 
but I did not know that there was a pigsty below. 

" First, my dagger, loosened by the friction made by 
my shoulders against the wall, dropped from my belt 
and fell among the pigs. The animals burst into such a 
squealing that I should have been discovered at once had 
anyone run to see what was happening. Hiding myself 
on getting down, I waited for some time until the pigs 
were quieted. Then, to get to the street, I climbed a low 
wall which separated me from it. I was suddenly com- 
pelled to draw back, for a gendarme was patrolling and 
investigating the fastenings of the doors below. When 
he passed I dropped to the street. 

" Sweating, agitated and fatigued, I moved vigor- 
ously to the house where I had my horses, my servant, 
and a guide, and reached it without any more stumbling. 
When I was safely there we all loaded our pistols, got 
on our horses, and, evading a cavalry patrol, rode out 
of the city by the Teotihuacan exit. I felt almost sure 
that the guard at the gate would stop us and made up 
my mind to fight, but luckily the gate was open. We 
passed out trotting and when we were clear of the city 
we galloped. 

219 



DIAZ, MASTER OF MEXICO 

" Colonel Garcia was to have waited with his guer- 
rilla troops for me in El Paso de Santa Maria del Rio, 
at the frontier of the state of Guerrero, but as he had 
been notified that I was to escape on the I5th, and as 
I had really escaped on the 2Oth, naturally Garcia was 
not there. 

" Between eight and nine o'clock on the morning of 
September 2ist we reached the ford of the Mixteca 
River without any notable occurrence. I knew that the 
imperial forces of Colonel Flon were not far away, and 
did not abandon my horses or arms. While my servant 
and guide crossed the river in a boat with the saddles, 
the men in charge of the baggage rode bareback over 
the river. I myself took the bridle from my horse and 
swam the river, holding the mane with one hand and 
swimming with the other. I then waited on the shore 
till the horses of my companions were again saddled." 

The fugitives galloped a few miles and reached the 
town of Coayuca, where Diaz expected to find some of 
Colonel Garcia's guerrillas. Here he was recognized by 
the alcalde, who offered to serve him. He moved on, 
but presently, hearing the hiss of bullets, he and his com- 
panions rode to a hill and witnessed a fight in the town. 
Flon's imperialist squadron had made an attack in the 
hope of surprising some of Garcia's guerrillas who had 
gone there to attend a festival. Diaz then rode to Gar- 
cia's ranch, fifteen or twenty miles distant. 

The Count de Thun was thunderstruck when he 
found that Diaz had again escaped from Puebla. His 
anger swelled into a passion of fury when he learned 
that the Mexican hero had with characteristic coolness 
and foresight prepared a letter addressed to him and had 
left it beside the stone statue of San Vincente Ferrer 
on the roof of the convent from which he so boldly made 
his way to freedom. The Austrian general, realizing 

220 



DIAZ, TAKEN PRISONER, AGAIN ESCAPES 

the peril involved in Diaz's escape, offered a reward of 
$1,000 for his capture, dead or alive. 

Lying beside the letter to the Count de Thun, Diaz 
also left a letter addressed to Major Richard Kerschel, 
one of the Count's officers, and another to Baron Csis- 
madia. To Major Kerschel he wrote : " I could not 
reconcile myself to suffer imprisonment for an indefinite 
period. I vaguely seek liberty or death. In my present 
situation, and that of my country, the choice is in- 
different." 

The letter to the Count de Thun, written under such 
exasperating circumstances, reveals something of the fine- 
ness and nicety of Diaz's character which prompted him, 
in that desperate hour, to desire to leave a good name 
even among the enemies of his country. It was written 
six days before his flight: 

PUEBLA, September 13, 1865. 

" DEAR SIR : Lieutenant Csismadia, who has a just 
idea of my character, knew how to keep me safe, giving 
me all the freedom in his power without even taking the 
liberty to exact my word of honor, which I never would 
have compromised. 

" Toward Csismadia I was only under the obligation, 
which I tacitly imposed upon myself, of not involving his 
responsibility, generously and kindly contracted in my 
favor. I took upon myself nothing of a definitely ex- 
pressed nature in accepting his generosity, which I did 
not solicit ; however, never have I been more securely con- 
fined in my prison than while I enjoyed this generosity. 

" But you, who only know Mexicans through pas- 
sionate reports, who believe that only men without honor 
and without heart are to be found among them, and that 
to keep them safe there are no means other than guards 
and walls, have placed me in absolute liberty, substituting 
these flimsy bonds for the very strong ties with which 
Csismadia reduced me to complete inaction. 

221 



DIAZ, MASTER OF MEXICO 

" In Papantla and Tuxtepec I have prisoners belong- 
ing to the corps which you worthily command, who are 
accorded the best possible treatment. 

" If you desire that we shall arrange an exchange of 
these for some of my own men, send to Papantla a com- 
missioner with powers to this effect, and I promise that 
you shall be satisfied with the result. S. S. Q. S. M. B. 
[your servant who kisses your hand]. 

" PORFIRIO DIAZ. 
" Sr. General Count de Thun. Present." 

On the very night when the fugitive hero reached 
Garcia's ranch, the officials of ten neighboring municipal- 
ities came privately to greet him. The reign of terror 
maintained by the invaders had forced them to be out- 
wardly submissive to the empire, but in their hearts they 
sympathized with the cause of independence and were 
eager to serve it; and the sight of their great leader, in 
his old gray Mexican uniform, with the prison pallor still 
showing in his face, but the old fighting spirit shining in 
his eyes, moved them almost to tears. 

That night the joyful news was sent over the moun- 
tains that Diaz was in the field again. 



CHAPTER XIX 
OAXACA'S HERO RENEWS THE WAR AGAINST MAXIMILIAN 

AFTER two nights' sleep at the ranch, Diaz began his 
third campaign against the invaders and imperialists. 

At seven o'clock on the morning of September 22, 
1865, he rode rapidly to a spot agreed upon, accompanied 
by Colonel Garcia, two orderlies, a bugler, and a guide, 
and there he was joined by eight other fighting patriots. 
The whole force, when assembled, consisted of fourteen 
horsemen, some armed with pistols, others with carbines. 

This was the new Army of the East. 

On that very day he surprised a detachment of the 
enemy at Tehuitzingo, there swelling his little army to 
forty men, and with this force on the following evening 
he daringly attacked a squadron coming out of Pixtala, 
under Lieutenant-Colonel Carpintero, routing and pursu- 
ing it for more than three miles. So hot was Diaz's pur- 
suit that the fugitives abandoned about seventy horses 
and some arms. 

The prison smell had not left his clothes, yet Diaz had 
won two victories and was pressing the campaign with 
almost incredible energy. Not an hour was lost, not a 
point was forgotten. He gathered from Tlapa seventy- 
eight additional men under Lieutenant-Colonel Cano. 
Then he was joined by thirty guerrillas, under Tomas 
Sanchez, in Tepetlapa. An intensely cold storm shut up 
his force for four days in that small town. 

223 



DIAZ, MASTER OF MEXICO 

News came to him that Marshal Bazaine, who well 
knew the military and political importance of the es- 
caped prisoner of war, had sent two detachments from 
Puebla in swift pursuit of him. Colonel Visoso, in com- 
mand of one detachment of 300 infantry and 50 cavalry, 
was detained by the bitter weather in the city of Tul- 
cingo, not far away. 

Before daybreak Diaz was on his way to Tulcingo to 
fight his pursuers. On reaching that city, he surprised 
the unsuspecting enemy in a church, w r here they were 
quartered, and, although forty of his own men were 
killed, he defeated Visoso, who fled with his cavalry, 
leaving his force of infantry prisoners in Diaz's hands, 
with their arms and ammunition and three thousand gold 
dollars of their pay money. 

Among Diaz's followers was a patriotic brigand chief 
and several of his men. When the brigand found the 
chest containing the gold his joy was unbounded, but 
presently, when the general took the gold from him, he 
burst into loud lamentations, supposing that he was being 
robbed unfairly of booty by his leader. Even in those 
rough surroundings, and in that fierce and bloody mo- 
ment, Diaz patiently explained to the men that property 
captured in war could not be taken by any individual for 
himself, and that this money now belonged to the Con- 
stitutional government of Mexico. Then and there he 
gave his soldiers an object lesson in military accountabil- 
ity and in civilized warfare, by appointing a paymaster 
and opening an account with the company. These $3,000 
were the beginning of the immense fund which Diaz 
turned over to President Juarez when he reenterecl the 
Mexican capital in triumph through the shining ranks of 
the victorious Army of the East. 

On the next day the general promptly organized into 
224. 



OAXACA'S HERO RENEWS THE WAR 

two companies all the prisoners who were willing to serve 
the republic, and, with his army grown a little larger, he 
marched toward Tlapa, being joined on the way by a 
small band of armed horsemen from Mixteca. As he ad- 
vanced, other patriots joined his following. 

While marching toward Tlapa, after the fight at Tul- 
cingo, Diaz learned that 1,000 soldiers with 6 guns 
had joined Visoso and captured Tlapa, beating the re- 
publican forces back to the hills. Again he relied upon 
his shrewdness to make up for his lack of strength. 

In studying the wonderful fighting record of this man, 
one is astonished to see how many of his victories were 
due to sudden night marches and daybreak attacks, and 
to clever stratagems which deceived and demoralized his 
antagonists. With only 300 soldiers in his column and 
1,000 of the enemy awaiting him at Tlapa, he now re- 
solved to try another experiment in strategy. 

He borrowed 200 men of the National Guard from 
the republican general Jimenez at Chilapa, in the hills, 
and marched about raising the men of the towns. These 
Indian recruits were without arms, but they were formed 
into bands and marched through the mountains, parallel 
with the small force of real soldiers. When the Austrian 
duke Bernard, who was in Tlapa with 700 troops, saw 
great masses of men appearing over the hills, with the 
light flashing on the metal musical instruments which 
they carried, he naturally supposed that they were armed 
men, and promptly abandoned the town. Having fright- 
ened the enemy out of Tlapa, Diaz returned the soldiers 
he had borrowed from General Jimenez and dispersed 
the unarmed bands of Indians. 

The duke Bernard returned with his forces to At- 
lixco, placing Colonel Visoso, with about 300 men, in 
front of that town. 

225 



DIAZ, MASTER OF MEXICO 

Diaz had an attack of malarial fever, which lasted 
only two or three days. When he learned that Visoso 
knew of this illness, he pretended to grow worse, keeping 
up the sham of a deadly physical prostration, when he 
had actually recovered and was preparing to strike an- 
other blow. On December 3, 1865, he made a quick 
night march and at daybreak tempted Visoso into an am- 
bush, and completely defeated him. Diaz personally led 
a vigorous cavalry attack at the critical moment. Eighty- 
one of the enemy were killed and enough prisoners were 
taken to form a new battalion for the service of the 
republic. 

The general then marched through districts of the 
state of Oaxaca, gathering men, materials and money for 
his campaign. By this time the enemy had such an ex- 
aggerated idea of his military strength that many of their 
garrisons in the towns fled on his approach. He occu- 
pied Silacayoapan and then took Tlaxiaco from General 
Trujeque. In February, 1866, he marched with Gen- 
eral Alvarez to meet a column of imperialists under Gen- 
eral Juan Ortega, advancing from Oaxaca. In this 
march he was almost taken prisoner by the enemy, but 
through courage and presence of mind he was able to 
escape and led a gallant and successful charge. Later 
on he drove Ortega and his troops out of Jamiltepec, pur- 
sued him, compelled him to retreat to Oaxaca, and then 
gathered up hundreds of rifles which Ortega had left 
behind. 

Presently Colonel Visoso, who had been court-mar- 
tialed at Puebla for the defeats inflicted upon him by the 
man who had so recently escaped from an imperialist 
prison, volunteered to serve Diaz and went over to him 
with 200 men and a mountain cannon. 

As Diaz advanced toward the city of Oaxaca his army 
226 



OAXACA'S HERO RENEWS THE WAR 

grew larger. The story of his deeds ran through the 
South as though by magic. 

By this time the whole country was thrilled with hor- 
ror and indignation by the details of a great crime com- 
mitted by Maximilian's government. 

Having failed to reach any compromise, or even to 
secure an interview with either Juarez or Diaz, the Em- 
peror, on October 2, 1865, issued a lying proclamation, 
declaring that President Juarez had fled into the United 
States and that the headless republican forces were now 
merely bodies of bandits. This was a cold-blooded false- 
hood. The truth is that on the only occasion when 
Juarez expected an attack by the imperialist forces on 
Paso del Norte, he appealed to every man capable of 
bearing arms to meet the enemy and fight to the bit- 
ter end. 

" I will never leave my country," he said. " If you 
are defeated, I will go to the hills, wrap the flag of the 
republic about me, and await my death on Mexican soil." 

On the day after his proclamation falsely announcing 
the flight of Juarez, October 3, 1865, Maximilian issued 
a decree almost without a parallel in its deliberate bar- 
barity. Following are the principal articles : 

" We, Maximilian, Emperor of Mexico, on the ad- 
vice of our council of ministers and our council of state, 
decree as follows : 

" Persons belonging to armed bands or associations 
not authorized by law, whether of a political character or 
not, whatever the number of the band or the nature of 
its organization or denomination, shall be tried by court- 
martial, and, if convicted, although only of belonging to 
such a band, shall be condemned to death, which sentence 
shall be executed within twenty-four hours. 

" Persons described in the preceding article, when 
227 



DIAZ, MASTER OF MEXICO 

found using arms, shall be tried by the commandant of 
the force effecting the arrest, who within twenty-four 
hours shall cause the crime to be investigated orally, and 
shall hear the prisoner in his defense. A written record 
of the investigation shall be made, ending with the sen- 
tence, which shall be death if the prisoner be found guilty 
of belonging to the band. The officer in command shall 
cause the sentence to be executed within twenty-four 
hours, permitting the prisoner to receive spiritual consola- 
tion. After the execution the said officer shall send the 
record to the Minister of War. 

" Sentences of death for the crimes defined in this 
decree shall be executed within the period named. No 
petitions for pardon will be accepted. 

" Given at the palace in Mexico, October 3, 1865. 

" MAXIMILIAN." 

On October I3th, ten days after this inhuman decree, 
which sentenced to death every Mexican honest enough to 
oppose the invasion, Colonel Mendez, with an imperialist 
force, surprised and beat the republican troops com- 
manded by General Arteaga at Santa Anna Amatlan. 
Among the prisoners taken were Generals Arteaga and 
Salazar, Colonels Villagomez, Diaz Parcho, and Perez 
Milicua, and a number of other officers. 

The rank, education, and character of the prisoners 
Arteaga had been Governor of Queretaro, was a general 
of division, and had command of the Army of the Center 
induced Mendez to ask the Emperor whether they 
should be killed under the decree. Even 214 imperialist 
soldiers who had been taken prisoners in the field by Ar- 
teaga and released by exchange, wrote a protest against 
the proposed murder. Yet, on October 22, 1865, Arteaga 
and his companions were shot to death at Uruapam. The 
letters written to their mothers by the two patriot generals 
on the night before they were thus deliberately murdered 



OAXACA'S HERO RENEWS THE WAR 

were heartrending in their dignity and pathos. Mendez 
was promoted to be a general for this unspeakable ser- 
vice, which no newspaper in Mexico was allowed to 
mention. Even the United States Government, through 
its minister in France, protested to Napoleon against 
such barbarity. 

A powerful revulsion shook the country in the begin- 
ning of the year 1866. Maximilian, alternately trusting 
and suspecting the intentions of Napoleon, believed that 
the great French army in Mexico would be reduced 
gradually, and although 4,000 troops had already left for 
Europe, he neglected to build up a military organization 
of his own, notwithstanding the fact that General Diaz 
was rousing the South and East and advancing steadily; 
that General Escobedo with Colonels Trevino and Na- 
rango were fighting in the North; that General Corona 
was making headway with his forces in Sinaloa and 
Sonora, and that Generals Regules and Riva Palaccio were 
still in the field in the interior of the country. 

Napoleon and Maximilian had in vain tried to secure 
a recognition of the usurping empire by the United States. 
The great northern republic, now free from the embar- 
rassment of the Civil War, pressed Napoleon to with- 
draw his army from America, and announced in plain 
speech that the only government which it recognized as a 
legitimate authority in Mexico was the Constitutional 
republic of President Juarez. The attitude of the United 
States became so menacing that Bazaine finally sent troops 
to the frontier ; but the government at Washington turned 
a still sterner face upon Napoleon, who, recognizing the 
fact that half a million veteran American soldiers could be 
hurled against his widely scattered army of invasion, of- 
fered to withdraw his forces from Mexico. 

With Diaz driving everything before him on his way 
229 



DIAZ, MASTER OF MEXICO 

to the heart of the South ; Corona punishing the imperial- 
ists at Palos-Prietos and El Presidio; Terrazas routing 
the traitor troops in Chihuahua, after their French sup- 
port had been withdrawn; Garcia de la Cadena again in 
the field at Zacatecas ; and Viesca beating the imperialist 
forces at Parras and Santa Isabel, Marshal Bazaine began 
to draw his French forces in, and ordered that all isolated 
expeditions should consist only of the traitor Mexican 
troops. 

Napoleon instructed Bazaine to allow a certain num- 
ber of French soldiers to volunteer for service in Mexico 
after the French army should be withdrawn. Thirty- 
seven thousand traitor Mexican soldiers already in the 
field, including 12,000 permanent troops, and the auxili- 
aries, 8,000 men of the foreign legion, and 5,000 volun- 
teers, who were being assembled in Austria, would make 
a sufficient army to maintain the empire, especially as 
Maximilian's troops would have 662 siege and field guns 
to turn against the republicans. 

Maximilian was distracted. Napoleon had agreed to 
leave the foreign legion in Mexico until 1868, and to 
support the Mexican empire with 12,000 troops for some 
months after the retirement of Bazaine. But when he 
made that contract, Napoleon had not foreseen that the 
United States would have more than 400,000 troops ready 
for action. Besides, the United States notified the Em- 
peror of Austria that if he permitted any volunteers to 
embark for Mexico, diplomatic relations would be broken 
off with his government ; and that ended all hope of relief 
from Maximilian's brother, for the Austrian Emperor 
was then preparing to fight Prussia and Italy over the 
possession of Schleswig-Holstein. 

Alas for the fair-bearded Austrian Archduke who sat 
on the throne of a visionary Mexican empire! The 

230 



OAXACA'S HERO RENEWS THE WAR 

27,000 Mexican auxiliary troops dwindled in the count- 
ing to about 12,000, and the 20,000 French soldiers guar- 
anteed by Napoleon were to be replaced by a paltry 3,000 
French volunteers. 

Meanwhile President Juarez divided the republic into 
four great military commands, giving the South and East 
to Diaz, the North to Escobedo, the Center to Regules, 
and the West to Corona. 

Overwhelmed by expenses which he could not meet, 
Maximilian at first considered the question of renouncing 
the Mexican crown. Bazaine was withdrawing his troops 
from distant points and concentrating the French lines 
back toward the capital. Escobedo defeated General 
Olvera in Santa Gertrudis. The brave traitor Mexican 
general Tomas Mejia surrendered Matamoras to the 
republicans, abandoning 43 guns and escaping to Vera 
Cruz. Juarez, with his government, returned to Chi- 
huahua, to withdraw no more. 

Maximilian wrestled in his shallow, sentimental brain 
with the problem of abdication. That seemed to be the 
course pointed out by Napoleon. Later on, Marshal Ba- 
zaine tried to persuade him to give up the imperial ex- 
periment and go back to Europe with the French army. 
But it would have taken a larger and braver man than 
Maximilian to confess openly the folly of his adventure, 
leave Mexico to its own faithful and heroic people, and 
face the laughter of the world as a discredited dupe of 
Napoleon. 

The fickle and frightened Emperor of Mexico took 
advantage of Marshal Bazaine's visit to his forces in the 
interior to call two French generals, Osmont and Friant, 
into his Cabinet. Bazaine protested, and Napoleon re- 
fused to allow his officers to serve as Mexican Ministers. 
Maximilian then abandoned all restraint, went over to 
16 231 



DIAZ, MASTER OF MEXICO 

the Clerical enemies of the French, and set up a black 
reactionary government, secretly controlled by his priest- 
secretary, the intriguing and masterful Abbe Fischer, with 
a new Cabinet presided over by Teodosio Lares, an al- 
most mediaeval foe of progress, who lived in the shadow 
of Archbishop Labastida. 

Miramon and Marquez, the bloody generals of the 
Church, were summoned back to Mexico. 



CHAPTER XX 

IN BATTLE AGAIN FOR HIS BIRTHPLACE 

DIAZ was more than a soldier in the South and East. 
He was the life and inspiration of the republic. His fear- 
less devotion to the Mexican cause, his withering answers 
fo the temptations of Maximilian, the manly romance of 
his escape from Puebla, and his prompt resumption of the 
war against the empire with an army of only fourteen 
men, were as well known in the towns and villages as his 
military resourcefulness, his willingness to take responsi- 
bility, his efforts to save the general population from un- 
necessary burdens, and his personal bravery in battle. 
Strength and sincerity drew men to his standard. 

By February 2, 1866, he had received from President 
Juarez authority to resume supreme command of the 
forces in the Southern and Eastern states, and soon he 
had small columns operating in all directions. In May 
he indorsed and published Juarez's decree postponing the 
presidential election to a more convenient time, and pro- 
visionally extending the President's term of office. He 
also supported Juarez in denouncing General Gonzalez 
Ortega, who as President of the Supreme Court, had re- 
fused to consent to the temporary suspension of the elec- 
tion, claimed for himself the right to succeed to the presi- 
dency, and headed an abortive rebellion against Juarez. 

His forces were still small and his means slender, for 
it was important not to tax the people too much ; yet he 

233 



DIAZ, MASTER OF MEXICO 

pressed the campaign in Oaxaca, Puebla, Tlaxcala, and 
Chiapas. It was a life of constant planning and fighting. 
Again and again he narrowly escaped death or capture. 
While he was in Tepeji several columns moved simulta- 
neously to trap him, and he managed to escape to Hua- 
juapam. Then General Trujeque tried to assassinate him 
by a treacherous ambuscade, but he moved unhurt out of 
a shower of bullets. 

Having swung into the south of the state of Oaxaca 
and guarded against movements from Tehuantepec and 
Yucatan, where the imperialists were eager and active, 
Diaz moved northward toward his native city of Oaxaca, 
where great numbers of troops were being concentrated 
to crush him by sheer weight. 

Then came the famous fight of Miahuatlan, on Octo- 
ber 3, 1866, in which, with only 600 infantry and 280 
cavalry, he outgeneraled and outfought a force of 1,100 
infantry and 300 cavalry, with 2 guns, under General 
Carlos Oronoz, assisted by a French officer, Enrique Tes- 
tard. This was a brilliant military achievement. 

Diaz's force in Miahuatlan was almost out of ammu- 
nition and food. His men were demoralized. Terrible 
rains fell. 

He was waiting for encouraging news from his 
brother, Colonel Felix Diaz, who, having been with Presi- 
dent Juarez in Chihuahua, and hearing that General Diaz 
was free and again in the field, rushed to assist him, or- 
ganized a force, and, after long and painful marches, was 
now somewhere on the north side of the city of Oaxaca 
while his distinguished brother was approaching it from 
the south. 

General Oronoz had moved out of Oaxaca, resolved 
to destroy Diaz in one action. Again the Mexican leader 
made up with strategy for his lack of strength. There 

234 



IN BATTLE FOR HIS BIRTHPLACE 

was no time to be lost, and part of his soldiers had less 
than six rounds of ammunition each. 

Diaz placed some of his infantry behind a hill in 
front of the town, posted forces of riflemen in a ravine 
at the side of a road, armed peasants in a maguey field 
on the other side, and sent his cavalry out of town 
by another route, holding a body of infantry in reserve." 

Then he boldly rode to the crest of the hill concealing 
the arrangement of his forces, and with the members of 
his staff and about thirty cavalrymen, opened fire on the 
advancing Austrian and French troops. 

General Oronoz, deceived by this daring movement, 
and supposing that he was in touch with the body of 
Diaz's force, moved forward in battle form, and, catching 
sight of the republican cavalry, sent his own cavalry in 
pursuit. Diaz ordered his cavalry to move toward his 
concealed infantry, and presently the enemy, moving after 
the republican horsemen, were drawn between two deadly 
infantry fires and retreated in confusion. 

Diaz ordered Colonel Manuel Gonzalez (afterwards 
President of Mexico) to advance with a detachment of 
infantry, and while Oronoz was distracted by this move- 
ment, the republican cavalry swept around and made a 
fierce and unexpected attack upon the enemy's rearguard. 
Then Diaz, with the rest of his infantry, fell upon the 
Austrians and French. It was a savage struggle, but 
the Mexicans fixed bayonets and won a complete victory, 
pursuing the fugitives nearly ten miles. 

General Oronoz escaped with some of his principal 
officers, and the French commander, Testard, was found 
dead on the battlefield. Among the slain were many 
Mexicans. The French officers taken in the fight were 
sent to the hills for safe-keeping, but twenty-two Mexican 
officers, who had deserted from the republican army and 

235 



DIAZ, MASTER OF MEXICO 

entered the enemy's service, were shot, according to the 
rules in force. In addition to the prisoners, Diaz cap- 
tured about 1,000 rifles, 2 cannon, and more than 50 
mules loaded with ammunition. 

With his troops newly organized, Diaz marched for 
Oaxaca on October 6th. On the next night he rode out 
alone, attended by a bugler only, to receive a messenger 
from his brother Felix, who sent word that on approach- 
ing the city of Oaxaca from the north he had surprised 
50 cavalrymen, who covered Tlacolula, and that he was 
now threatening Oaxaca, having even penetrated to its 
streets. On the following day came the news that Felix 
Diaz had occupied a part of Oaxaca and was holding the 
enemy in the convents of Santo Domingo, El Carmen, 
and Cerro de la Soledad. General Diaz reached Oaxaca 
that night, October 8th, and perfected the siege, which 
was pressed till, on October i6th, the republican lines were 
so contracted about General Oronoz's troops shut up in 
the three convents that only one street divided the posi- 
tions of the republican and imperialist forces. 

That day was the threshold of a surprising and deci- 
sive event in modern Mexican history. Diaz intercepted a 
dispatch to General Oronoz ordering him to hold Oaxaca 
at all hazards, because 1,300 well-armed Austrian vet- 
erans under Count Hotse were moving by forced marches 
to his relief. 

It was a critical and confounding situation for Diaz. 
To permit Count Hotse's army to reach Oaxaca would be 
to risk the destruction of his own force, which had swollen 
to i, 600 men, but would have to deal simultaneously with 
an enemy in the front and the rear. General Oronoz had 
more than 1,100 troops in Oaxaca, and these, united with 
the advancing Austrian column, would give the enemy 
a force of 2,600 men. Yet to turn his back upon Oaxaca 

236 



IN BATTLE FOR HIS BIRTHPLACE 

and march out to meet Count Hotse, would be to let 
loose the besieged army of 1,100 men on his rear. 

The general was sure that the besieged enemy could 
not receive news from outside and were therefore igno- 
rant that an army was advancing to their rescue. Since 
General Figueroa was marching with a tired and badly 
munitioned column to join the republican forces, and must 
pass obliquely near La Carbonera, where Count Hotse's 
force would also pass, Diaz decided to take chances on 
the ignorance of Oronoz, and go out secretly at night 
to attack the approaching Austrians, and at the same 
time protect Figueroa's weak force. 

This was one of the most intelligently audacious 
events in the whole history of Diaz's extraordinary mili- 
tary stratagems. That very night he ordered his cavalry 
to cover the hoofs of their horses with cloth in order to 
mufrle the sound of their movements. He took the guns 
from their carriages and had them borne forward without 
noise. Then he secretly moved all his columns in the 
darkness to Etla. No officer in his force was permitted 
to know what the other officers were doing. He left the 
sentries at their posts in Oaxaca, with orders to challenge 
each other and observe the usual routine, so that the be- 
sieged garrisons might not suspect that the republican 
forces had been withdrawn. 

After this secret march to Etla, he pushed on to San 
Juan del Estado, where he found General Figueroa and 
his troops, and the two forces were united. 

His one fear was that Oronoz might discover his ab- 
sence, and he sent cavalry back to threaten Oaxaca, so 
that the besieged troops would not dare to make a sally. 

At dawn on October i8th Diaz moved his army to 
occupy La Carbonera before the Austrian army of relief 
could reach it. While his forces were moving up a slope 

237 



DIAZ, MASTER OF MEXICO 

his scouts reported that the enemy were moving up the 
other side of the hill. Then followed the battle of La 
Carbonera, in which Diaz, ably assisted by his brother 
Felix, General Figueroa, Colonels Segura and Espinosa 
y Gorostiza, and other officers, won a complete victory 
over a force of 1,300 picked men, consisting of a battalion 
of Austrian infantry, two companies of French volunteers, 
three squadrons of Hungarian cavalry, and two squadrons 
of traitor Mexicans. 

After Count Hotse's force was broken, Diaz in per- 
son pursued it for more than two hours, reddening the 
well-remembered road to his birthplace with blood. In 
this battle he took more than 700 prisoners and 5 guns. 

Not an hour was wasted in rejoicing. Diaz had been 
for days almost without sleep, but there could be no rest 
until Oaxaca was taken. He at once returned to the city 
and arrived there just as General Oronoz learned that a 
battle had taken place and was waiting for news of the 
result in order to make a sally with his 1,100 men. He 
had ordered his commanding officer in the convent of 
La Soledad to announce the approach of troops from the 
outside. The signal was to be three shots if the troops 
were friends and one shot if the troops were enemies. 

Strategy followed strategy. It is interesting to read 
in President Diaz's own words how he managed to avoid 
a bloody struggle in taking Oaxaca : 

" In my front ranks, with republican soldiers on either 
side, we placed the Austrian prisoners. The commanding 
officer of La Soledad was deceived by this arrangement 
and gave the signal to announce the appearance of a 
friendly column. He promptly tried to correct his mis- 
take when we drew nearer and he saw that we were 
enemies, but it was then too late. I took the whole line 
of outposts that I had occupied when I defended the city 

238 



IN BATTLE FOR HIS BIRTHPLACE 

against Marshal Bazaine. The two forces continued fir- 
ing intermittently until midnight." 

General Oronoz surrendered Oaxaca unconditionally 
with 1,100 fully equipped men, depots of arms and 
ammunitions, and 30 fixed and mountain guns. Diaz 
entered the city with his troops on October 3ist, and en- 
rolled a large part of the captured forces in his own bat- 
talions. An interesting illustration of his character is to 
be found in the fact that when he occupied Oaxaca, he ad- 
vanced two colonels to the rank of general, but declined 
to promote the valiant Colonel Felix Diaz, because that 
officer was his brother. The republican government af- 
terwards conferred the rank of general on Felix. 

Money was badly needed at that time, for the soldiers 
of the republic had received no pay, and the people could 
stand no further draughts upon their scanty means; in- 
deed, many of the peasants were almost on the verge of 
starvation. 

With this stern problem staring him in the face, Diaz 
promptly seized the marvelous jewels of the Virgin of 
La Soledad, whose dazzling beauty and unspeakable cost- 
liness had overwhelmed him when he was a barefoot boy 
preparing for the priesthood the solid gold crown blaz- 
ing with emeralds and diamonds ; the corselet of precious 
stones quivering on gold wires; the ropes and necklaces 
of flashing gems and rare pearls ; the wonderful chalice ; 
the gold stomacher, incrusted with emeralds, diamonds, 
and pearls ; the great black velvet dress, stiff with massive 
embroidery of countless fine pearls ; the blazing, twinkling 
heaps of crosses and rings set with rubies, emeralds, and 
other gems. 

This treasure, valued at $2,000,000, was carefully 
guarded until the Church ransomed it by paying $20,000, 

239 



DIAZ, MASTER OF MEXICO 

which Diaz used to relieve the poverty of his exhausted 
army. For fifty years afterwards the hiding place of 
these jewels was a carefully kept Church secret. 

Although the general allowed his volunteer soldiers 
to return to their homes to see their families and heal 
their wounds, requiring them to serve as local National 
Guards during their rest in the small towns, and Figueroa 
moved back with his army to the mountains of Tuxtepec, 
he gave himself no rest. He organized the government of 
Oaxaca and studied the enemy's position to the south 
of him. 

In the beginning of December, 1866, after many days 
of exhausting work, Diaz marched with 1,200 men to 
Tehuantepec, determined to strike in every direction, in 
order that the enemy might not have a rearguard. At 
El Tablon he and his brother Felix defeated the enemy's 
rearguard of 1,300 troops, driving them into the moun- 
tains, and by January, 1867, he was back in Oaxaca with 
the main body of his army. In the latter part of that 
month, having organized his forces for the campaign 
against Puebla, drawing troops from the states of Tlas- 
cala, Mexico, Puebla, and Vera Cruz, Diaz left Oaxaca 
on January 26th, headed for the city of Puebla. 

But to understand the meaning of the great victories 
which the restless hero of Oaxaca was about to win, it is 
necessary to know something of the extraordinary events 
that were succeeding each other in the tragic, bewildering 
fortunes of Maximilian and his young Empress. 



CHAPTER XXI 

NAPOLEON DESERTS MAXIMILIAN BAZAINE TEMPTS DIAZ 

IT was in December, 1865, that Secretary Seward, 
still suffering from the wound he received on the night 
of President Lincoln's assassination, notified Napoleon 
III that the friendly relations of France and the United 
States would be endangered unless France should " de- 
sist from the prosecution of armed intervention to 
overthrow the republican government existing there 
[Mexico] and to establish upon its ruins the foreign 
monarchy which has been attempted in the capital of 
the country," and " leave the people of the country to the 
free enjoyment of the republican government they have 
established for themselves, and of their adhesion to 
which they have given what seems to the United States 
to be decisive and conclusive as well as touching proofs/' 
In the desire to minimize this chivalrous action of 
the United States Government, many serious writers 
have asserted that in the very same month Mr. Seward 
went to the island of St. Thomas to negotiate for the 
sword of the notorious Santa Anna for service in Mex- 
ico. Nothing could be falser. When Mr. Seward went 
to the West Indies on the advice of his doctors, he was 
entirely ignorant of the fact that Santa Anna was living 
there in exile. It was a mere vagary of some one's 
imagination to attribute any political significance to the 
interview between Mr. Seward and Santa Anna, which 

241 



DIAZ, MASTER OF MEXICO 

was sought for-by that dishonorable Mexican adventurer. 
The truth is that Santa Anna was regarded as a preten- 
tious humbug by the government at Washington. 

After the former dictator had gone to New Jersey 
and issued a bombastic address to the Mexican nation, 
he had the impudence to offer his services to President 
Juarez's government, which repelled him with contempt. 

In March, 1867, when Diaz's army was sweeping 
from Oaxaca to the final victories of Puebla and Mexico 
City, Santa Anna sent to Mr. Seward an agent named 
Gabor Naphegyi, with an elaborate written commission 
designating him as Santa Anna's " Minister at Wash- 
ington." The Mexican exile grandly set forth in this 
document his various decorations and titles " General 
of Division of the Armies of Mexico; Grand Master of 
the National and Distinguished Order of Guadalupe ; 
Grand Cross of the Spanish Order of Carlos III; Gen- 
eral in Chief of the Liberating Army of the Mexican 
Republic," etc. and authorized his " minister " to issue 
Mexican bonds " to the amount of ten millions of dol- 
lars," and to " negotiate with the United States for the 
sale of any portion or portions of the Territory of 
Mexico." 

Secretary Seward refused to receive Naphegyi and 
sent an assistant to say that the United States could rec- 
ognize only the government of President Juarez, and 
that in its dealings with the Mexican question it had no 
desire to gain any selfish advantage, but was actuated 
by sincere convictions. Naphegyi had definitely pro- 
posed the transfer of the sovereignty of Sonora and 
Lower California as the price of support to be given to 
Santa Anna by the United States. 

The efforts of the picturesque Mexican traitor to 
secure recognition from the United States when the 

242 



NAPOLEON DESERTS MAXIMILIAN 

government at Washington had practically ordered Na- 
poleon to leave Mexico, and had sent General Sheridan 
with an army corps to the Mexican frontier, have been 
treated with much gravity by ignorant or malicious anti- 
American historians ; but Secretary Seward did not con- 
sider them even a respectable joke. 

Napoleon had to take his army out of Mexico. His 
vast scheme for a reconquest of America was a hopeless 
failure. Yet his guilty s*oul shrank from a confession 
to the world of such a disaster to his prestige. His one 
burning desire was to conceal the fact that he had been 
compelled to retreat. On January 22, 1866, he at- 
tempted to deceive Europe by announcing to the French 
parliament that as the Mexican empire was already 
established and its opponents without a leader, the 
French army, having accomplished its object, would 
soon retire from Mexico. 

Through Marshal Bazaine, Napoleon attempted to 
persuade Maximilian to renounce his crown. By abdi- 
cating, the young Emperor would take from Napoleon's 
shoulders all responsibility for the failure of the Mexican 
empire and place it upon his own. Anything would be 
better than to allow Europe to know that the successor 
of Napoleon the Great, having set out to overthrow the 
Monroe Doctrine, had withdrawn his soldiers from 
America in the face of a threat from the United States. 

As Bazaine gradually drew the French forces from 
the interior of Mexico, he kept secretly pressing Maxi- 
milian to give up the experiment of governing the Mexi- 
cans. Although he had been notified that the French 
army would be completely withdrawn by the end of 
1867, and Bazaine's preparations for retirement from 
the country were carried on openly, Maximilian could 
not at first believe that Napoleon would abandon him. 

243 



DIAZ, MASTER OF MEXICO 

Yet events began to stagger his confidence. As the 
French troops fell back toward the center, the repub- 
licans advanced from the North and South toward the 
capital. The imperial treasury was empty; all the local 
treasuries in Mexico had been plundered ; guerrilla bands 
were ravaging the towns and villages in all parts of the 
country; the heterogenous troops upon which the em- 
pire must depend for support after Bazaine sailed for 
Europe had not been paid and were resorting to vulgar 
brigandage. Still, Bazaine, intent on saving his im- 
perial French master's pride, continued to urge Maxi- 
milian to abdicate. The wily marshal was seeking for 
a chance to negotiate with some provisional Mexican 
government for a recognition of the French debt before 
taking his army back to Europe. That would be an 
unanswerable excuse for Napoleon's retreat. 

Slowly the ghastly truth began to dawn on the mind 
of Maximilian, and the laughter died down in his gay 
court. He had quarreled with the Pope, and the Church 
had forsaken his cause ; he had tried in vain to negotiate 
with President Juarez ; he had many times sued for the 
sword of Diaz and had received only insults and threats 
in reply; he had turned to the United States for recog- 
nition, only to be coldly ignored. Now, with a bank- 
rupt treasury, and even his imperial brother in Austria 
helpless to assist him, Napoleon was about to abandon 
him to the care of a motley, unpaid Mexican traitor sol- 
diery, assisted by a few French volunteers and a handful 
of Austrian and Belgian troops. 

Early in July, 1866, the Emperor of Mexico sud- 
denly awoke to the extreme peril of his position and was 
about to sign a renunciation of his crown. Just then 
the beautiful young Empress Carlota made an appeal to 
him which shook his resolution. She was only twenty- 

244 



NAPOLEON DESERTS MAXIMILIAN 

six years old, but had already begun to dabble in affairs 
of state. Carlota persuaded Maximilian to permit her 
to go at once to Paris and attempt to persuade Napoleon 
to keep the contract he had made when her husband ac- 
cepted the Mexican crown. She insisted that when Napo- 
leon was confronted with his solemn obligations, he would 
not take the French army out of Mexico. She would also 
go to the Pope and plead with him for a restoration of 
the Church's powerful support. The daughter of the 
Belgian king had a masterful character, in spite of her 
youth, and Maximilian, almost crazed by disappointments 
and disasters, surrendered himself to her characteristic 
woman's plan of an appeal to the personal feelings of 
Napoleon and of Pius IX in a matter involving the for- 
tunes of three nations. 

With this extraordinary scheme in her young mind, 
Carlota sailed from Vera Cruz on July 13, 1866, accom- 
panied only by Madame Del Barrio, one of her ladies 
in waiting. It is said that when she started from Chapul- 
tepec Castle there was not enough money in the imperial 
treasury to pay for her trip, and it was necessary to take 
money from the special funds held for the protection of 
the capital against sudden floods. 

Madame Del Barrio afterwards wrote a pathetic ac- 
count of Carlota's journey to Paris and futile interview 
with Napoleon. 

" Her majesty was in a state of great nervous ex- 
citement bordering on insanity even before we neared the 
coast of France in that unhappy summer of 1866. It is 
generally assumed that her mental malady first asserted 
itself during her interview with the Pope, October 4th 
of that year. The fact is that her majesty became a 
raving maniac in the castle of St. Cloud. 

" These are the circumstances : When our steamer 

245 



DIAZ, MASTER OF MEXICO 

landed at Bresfe there was nobody to offer a royal wel- 
come, or any kind of welcome. Neither the French 
Government nor the Belgian Embassy was represented. 
The same happened upon our arrival in Paris. The 
Empress trembled from head to foot as she stepped into 
the hired coach that brought us to our hotel. 

" The day passed without a word from Emperor 
Napoleon. On the second day the Empress Eugenie's 
chamberlain came to invite her majesty to breakfast at 
St. Cloud. She refused the invitation, but said she 
would come to St. Cloud the following afternoon. At 
the castle my mistress and their majesties of France 
were closeted for an hour longer, I remaining in the ante- 
room. 

" Suddenly I heard the Empress Carlota cry out in 
agonized tones, which were full of contempt at the same 
time, ' Indeed I should have known who you are and who 
I am. I should not have dishonored the blood of the 
Bourbons in my veins by humbling myself before a 
Bonaparte, who is nothing but an adventurer.' 

" A second later I heard a sound as if a heavy body 
had struck the floor. I ran to the door, which was 
locked, but after a little while the Emperor Napoleon 
came out with a troubled face. On entering I found 
my mistress on a lounge, and kneeling by her side the 
Empress Eugenie, who was rubbing her hands and feet. 
She had opened her corsets, had pulled off her stock- 
ings, and, in short, done everything to arouse her from 
the fainting spell. 

" The Emperor's statement that he could do nothing 
for his majesty of Mexico had brought on this trouble, 
said Eugenie. Then she got up to get a glass of water, 
but as she held it to my mistress's lips, the Empress 
Carlota awoke and threw the water over her friend's 
dress, crying : i Away, cursed murderer ; away with your 
poison ! ' and then falling on my neck she added : ' You 
are witness to this plot. They want to poison me. For 
God's sake, do not leave me.' ' 

246 



NAPOLEON DESERTS MAXIMILIAN 

Hurrying to Rome, Carlota drove to the Vatican, 
and, in spite of the protests of the chamberlains against 
her informality, the proud young mistress of Chapul- 
tepec Castle burst into the presence of Pius IX, wild- 
eyed and haggard. With tears streaming down her face 
she said that Napoleon's agents were trying to poison 
her and that she was afraid to take the food set before 
her. At this she threw a handful of chestnuts on the 
astonished Pope's table and declared that she had eaten 
nothing for twenty-four hours but a few nuts which she 
had bougjit in the streets, and had not dared to drink 
anything but water drawn by her own hands from a 
public fountain. Pius, much distressed, had a beefsteak 
cooked for her immediately, and in his presence she ate 
it ravenously. 

In the evening Carlota returned to the Vatican, but 
was informed that the Pope had gone to bed. She in- 
sisted upon sleeping in an improvised bed in the library 
of the apostolic palace that night. For several days after- 
wards she refused to eat anything but eggs laid in her 
presence by hens kept in the drawing-room of her suite 
in the hotel, explaining to her attendants that although 
Napoleon's poison could not penetrate through the shell 
of an egg, the contents of the egg might be affected by 
administering poison to the hen. 

Presently she was removed by her family to Belgium, 
where she was shut up, raving mad, in a castle ; and there 
she is living, even to-day, a white-haired, feeble prisoner 
of seventy years, still ignorant of the bloody death of 
the husband whose throne she tried to save. 

It was while Maximilian was waiting for news from 

Carlota that he yielded to the influence of his sinister 

priest-secretary, the Abbe Fischer, and, made desperate 

by Bazaine's steady preparations to remove his army 

17 247 



DIAZ, MASTER OF MEXICO 

from the United States, threw himself into the arms of 
the Church party. 

In this time of frantic devices, Maximilian suddenly 
received a message announcing the failure of his wife's 
mission to Napoleon and conveying the still more ter- 
rible news that she had gone mad. The blow shattered 
his proud obstinacy, and at two o'clock in the morning 
of October 21, 1866, he hurried from Mexico City to 
Orizaba, on the way to Vera Cruz, where an Austrian 
man-of-war, sent for the purpose by the Emperor of 
Austria, was waiting to take him back to Europe. 

Nothing seemed to discourage Maximilian in the 
hope that, somehow he might win over to himself the 
sword of Diaz. The scornful and indignant replies 
which the Oaxacan made to every offer from the Em- 
peror seemed to have no effect. When the general was 
in Acatlan, with an escort of 300 men, preparing to con- 
centrate forces for the advance on Puebla, he received 
another communication from Maximilian who was then 
contemplating an abandonment of the Empire, and yet 
grasping at everything which seemed to promise safety. 
The story is told by President Diaz in his memoirs: 

" One day the advance guard from Acajete brought 
across the mountains to my quarters, with all usual 
precautions, a man named Carlos Bournof. According 
to credentials which he carried, he was commissioned by 
Maximilian personally to secure my promise not to op- 
pose him in a march which he was about to make from 
Mexico City to Vera Cruz, assuring me that he would 
take with him only European soldiers and that his pur- 
pose was to embark with them in the frigate Novara, 
then anchored at Vera Cruz. 

" Bournof asserted that this was all Maximilian had 
instructed him to say, but he announced on his own ac- 
count that Maximilian esteemed me highly, and that if 

248 



NAPOLEON DESERTS MAXIMILIAN 

he could rely upon my co-operation he would be ready to 
dismiss his Conservative advisers and the military men 
of that party at his side, and put himself in the hands 
of the Liberals, because at heart he agreed with our 
political principles. The envoy said that Maximilian had 
great respect and admiration for Senor Juarez and for 
the principles which he professed, but that in view of 
the attitude which Juarez maintained in considering the 
imperialists as antagonists, it was impossible for the 
Emperor to make his sentiments known and he was 
therefore obliged to act, not as he wished, but as cir- 
cumstances compelled. Bournof then intimated that I 
could be commander-in-chief of all the imperial forces. 

" The thought came to me that M. Bournof had been 
prompted by Maximilian to make these statements, not- 
withstanding his assurances that he was merely express- 
ing his own opinion. I held M. Bournof that night, and 
in the morning sent him back with a verbal answer, 
saying that I could not make concessions of any kind to 
the enemy; that my only duties to Maximilian were to 
strike him or be struck by him ; that I was making prep- 
arations to this end, and that I would promise to make 
him prisoner and submit him to the law of the nation. 

" All night we feigned the marching of troops 
through the streets near which Bournof was detained. 
The soldiers were accompanied by officers who saw to 
it that no windows were open. I wanted to send Bour- 
nof back to Maximilian with the idea that I had a great 
force of troops quartered in Acatlan and that trains 
were constantly coming in and going out of the town. 
Actually I had only 300 mounted men with me, although 
I could secure help from the towns in the districts of 
Matamoras, Tepeji, and Tepeaca, which were friendly 
to the republic. Many of them had taken up arms 
and were keen to join in any fight in their respective 
localities." 

Strangely enough, on his flight to Orizaba, the now 
demoralized and grief-stricken Maximilian received a 

249 



DIAZ, MASTER OF MEXICO 

communication from Napoleon's aid-de-camp, General 
Castelnau, who had been sent from Paris to demand the 
immediate abdication of the Emperor of Mexico. Maxi- 
milian declined to receive Napoleon's messenger. He was 
then informed by Bazaine that he would not be permitted 
to leave the country until he renounced the crown. 

The imperial criminal of the Tuileries had appar- 
ently resolved to conceal the true reason for the retreat 
of the French army from Mexico even if it should be 
necessary to lay violent hands upon his crowned victim. 
Already the embarrassment of having a large French 
army in America had prevented Napoleon from in- 
terfering in the struggle between Prussia and Austria 
for supremacy in the confederation of German states. 
The battle of Sadowa had given the leadership of 
Europe to the Prussian king, who, four years later, was 
to take the Emperor of the French a prisoner to Wil- 
helmshohe, and send him thence an exile to England. 
Napoleon's dream of an Italian confederation, headed 
by the Pope, under French domination, had also faded 
away, and the French troops were being withdrawn from 
the Papal territories. 

His reputation as the most brilliant and powerful 
politician in Europe would be completely shattered and 
his name would become a jest, even in France, if it 
should become known that his expedition to Mexico was 
a complete failure, and that the great French army had 
been withdrawn from America, not in triumph, but in 
abject humiliation. Therefore, Maximilian must resign, 
so that Napoleon might obtain a treaty with the Mexican 
republic securing the payment of the monstrous French 
claim which treaty would enable Napoleon to boast 
that the French army had gloriously accomplished its 
mission. 

250 



NAPOLEON DESERTS MAXIMILIAN 

Summoning his ministers to Orizaba, Maximilian 
asked their advice. He was urged to return to the cap- 
ital and defend his crown. The Church party agreed to 
furnish $30,000,000 at once for the prosecution of the 
war. His secretary, the Abbe Fischer, exerted his evil 
influence to the full. The Belgian engineer, Eloin, upon 
whom Maximilian strongly relied, also threw his weight 
in favor of the Church plan. On November loth Mar- 
quez and Miramon, the notorious Church generals, re- 
appeared in Mexico and agreed to join with Tomas 
Mejia in a crushing campaign against the Juarez gov- 
ernment on condition that they should have unlimited 
authority to raise troops and make forced loans. 

In a fatal moment Maximilian again changed his 
mind. In a proclamation issued on December i, 1866, 
he made known to the Mexican nation that he had re- 
solved to remain at his post to the end, and on December 
1 2th he returned to the City of Mexico. On the next 
cTay He ordered that in addition to the existing imperial- 
ist forces, there should be formed three army corps, to 
be commanded by Marquez, Miramon, and Mejia. Mar- 
quez was appointed commander in chief in the capital 
and threw himself with great energy into the work of 
recruiting troops. Mejia went to Queretaro to organize 
a new force. Miramon, accompanied by 400 men, 
mostly leaders and officers, moved out into the country 
toward Queretaro with the intention of creating a fresh 
division of troops, with which later on he surprised a 
republican force at Zacatecas. 

By this time Maximilian's defiant attitude toward 
Napoleon was bitterly emphasized. When Bazaine 
marched out of the capital on his way to France, at the 
head of the French forces, his bands were playing and 
his colors flying. Maximilian ignored him and his army. 



DIAZ, MASTER OF MEXICO 

No escort was. furnished to Napoleon's representative as 
he departed; no salute was fired, no bell rung, no fare- 
well word said. The march was through silent streets 
and sullen spectators. As the long stretches of French 
bayonets moved by the national palace, Bazaine saw 
that every window was curtained. Even Maximilian re- 
fused to appear, and watched the exit of the French 
army from behind a curtain, without a word of thanks 
for the blood that had been shed in defense of his 
sovereignty. 

Before sailing from Vera Cruz, Bazaine made a last 
attempt to save Napoleon from the disgrace of a com- 
plete defeat by a covert appeal to the ambition of Gen- 
eral Diaz. President Diaz has told in his memoirs how 
the cunning marshal's final effort to buy his conscience 
came about. 

After capturing Oaxaca, and before leaving with 
his army to attack Puebla, Diaz sent to Marshal Bazaine 
about 1,000 of the European soldiers he had taken in 
the field, with the stipulation that they should be at once 
embarked at Vera Cruz. His representative on this occa- 
sion was Colonel Jose M. Perez Milicua, whose inter- 
preter was a Frenchman named Carlos Thiele. 

Infuriated by Maximilian's refusal to abdicate, and 
thus leave the way open for a dignified French with- 
drawal, Bazaine was eager to assist secretly in pulling 
down the empire which Napoleon had set up. He re- 
vealed his plan to Thiele. 

" Marshal Bazaine authorized him," says President 
Diaz, " to say to me that he would sell to me muskets, 
ammunition, clothing and equipment at a dollar for a 
musket, a dollar for a linen uniform, with boots; and 
horses and mules, with full harness, at equally low prices. 

" I knew by this offer, and by the destruction of 
252 



NAPOLEON DESERTS MAXIMILIAN 

stores which he was making, that Bazaine had no means 
of carrying them to Vera Cruz and that he probably 
had no room in his ships for them. I refused to pur- 
chase the supplies because the enemy had to leave them, 
and it would be better to seize them than to pay even 
a low price. 

" I notified all the garrisons that anything the enemy 
might leave in the country was contraband of war. A 
large fine was provided for holders or receivers of such 
contraband, and I ordered that the fines would be paid to 
the informers, whose names would be kept secret. This 
announcement produced extraordinary results, and made 
it possible for me to turn over to President Juarez when 
he arrived in the capital in 1867, 21,000 soldiers, well 
clothed, well armed, and well munitioned, the bulk of 
their equipment having been thus secured from the 
French." 

President Diaz informed the author of this book that 
Bazaine offered to make a treaty with him by which 
France would secure certain guarantees. The marshal 
insisted that Juarez had ceased to be the head of the 
republic and was actually in the United States. His one 
desire was that France should not seem to be leaving the 
country out of fear of the United States. Diaz refused 
to commit himself and promptly communicated Bazaine's 
proposal to President Juarez. 

" Bazaine asked Thiele to say to me," says President 
Diaz, " that on leaving Mexico City for the coast he 
would stay at Ayotla, which he actually did, and that if 
I should make an attack on the capital while he was still 
there, he wished me to send him through Thiele a de- 
scription of my soldiers' uniforms so that they could be 
distinguished from Maximilian's soldiers. In such a case 
he would return to the capital under the pretense of re- 
storing order, so that things could be arranged for him 
and for me. 

253 



DIAZ, MASTER OF MEXICO 

" My understanding of this message was that he 
would help me to take the capital, where Maximilian 
then was, if I would, for my part, consent practically 
to disown the government of Sefior Juarez, so that 
France might deal with another government before tak- 
ing her forces out of Mexico. His exact words were 
these : ' Say to General Diaz that I will repay him with 
usury for the eclat with which our flag would thus leave 
Mexico.' 

" I did not consider it expedient to continue relations 
which had for their object an exchange of prisoners, 
but had been stretched to this point, and I so informed 
Thiele as my only answer to Bazaine.' 

This extraordinary scheme to shield the name of Na- 
poleon, and at the same time discredit Juarez, was re- 
ported by Diaz to Don Matias Romero, the distinguished 
Mexican Minister at Washington, for President Juarez's 
information, in the following words : 

" General Bazaine, through a third party, offered to 
surrender to me the cities which they occupied, and also 
to deliver Maximilian, Marquez, Miramon, etc., into my 
hands, provided I would accede to a proposal which he 
made me, and which I rejected, as I deemed it not very 
honorable. Another proposition was also made to me, by 
authority of Bazaine, for the purchase of 6,000 muskets 
and 4,000,000 percussion caps; and if I had desired it, 
he would have sold me both guns and powder." 

Then, on the very day when the French army left 
Mexico City, Maximilian had the walls placarded with 
an announcement that the government of the capital was 
in the hands of Marquez, the slayer of helpless prisoners. 
Before sailing for Europe, Bazaine offered to furnish 
General Castegui with an armed force to escort Maxi- 
milian to a ship waiting for him at Vera Cruz. But the 

254 



NAPOLEON DESERTS MAXIMILIAN 

blond poet and dilletante, now surrounded by Clerical 
advisers, had decided to attempt the conquest of Mexico 
on his account, and to maintain his crown through the 
swords of Marquez, Miramon, and Mejia, and the mil- 
lions promised to him by the bishops, who, terrified by 
the thought of a republican triumph and a restoration 
to power of President Juarez, had returned to Maxi- 
milian as their last hope. 



CHAPTER XXII 

DIAZ DESTROYS MAXIMILIAN'S POWER IN BATTLE 

MORE than 40,000 Mexican patriots were in the field 
against Maximilian m February, 1867. These were al- 
most entirely Indians, speaking many different tongues 
and often unable to converse with each other save in 
Spanish, yet stirred into a common consciousness by their 
love of country. 

Foreigners visiting Mexico have been astonished to 
discover that there is no race question there. The Indian 
is not looked upon as an inferior by the white man. The 
Mexican of European descent may deplore the mental 
sloth, the superstition, and the political indifference or in- 
capacity for civic progress which generally mark the de- 
scendants of the prehistoric Americans as unfit to be 
trusted with the actual management of the nation, in their 
present backward condition ; but he remembers that they 
are sprung from ancient, independent, and civilized races, 
he strongly appreciates their gentle and lovable, if help- 
less, qualities; and he does not forget how many times, 
and how bravely, they have fought for Mexican inde- 
pendence. 

While the patriot Indian soldiery moved, without 
outrage or robbery, toward the capital controlled in the 
North by the Indian president Juarez, and directed in the 
South by the part-Indian soldier Diaz Maximilian and 
his generals, with their forces of Austrians, Belgians, Nu- 

256 



DIAZ DESTROYS MAXIMILIAN'S POWER 

bian blacks from the Soudan, Mexican renegades, and riff- 
raff hireling volunteers from many lands, sank to the 
level of highwaymen in their methods. They recruited 
soldiers by forcing passing citizens into the ranks. The 
treasuries everywhere were looted. The police attacked 
the houses of merchants by night and broke into their 
money chests. 

The saturnalia of official plundering grew more and 
more barbarous, and at times women and children were 
shut up in houses without food or water until they were 
ransomed by their relatives. Horsemen were stopped in 
the streets and their entire equipment taken from them. 
Two important business houses had to surrender a quar- 
ter of a million dollars between them to Maximilian's 
marauding officers. 

Not only was this systematic robbery carried on in 
the name of the Emperor of Mexico, but when Miramon, 
having won a small victory over the patriots at Zacatecas, 
reported that he expected to capture President Juarez and 
his government, Maximilian ordered him to see to it that. 
Juarez and his principal ministers and generals should 
promptly be condemned by a court-martial when they 
were caught. It was only the defeat of Miramon by 
General Escobedo at San Jacinto that prevented the exe- 
cution of Maximilian's bloodthirsty and heartless order. 

The whole country was in an uproar of indignation as 
news of the imperialist atrocities reached it, and the sol- 
diers of the republic pushed forward swiftly to the rescue 
of the cities still in the hands of the oppressors. Generals 
Corona and Escobedo were marching southward, and the 
Juarez government returned toward the capital behind 
the advancing republicans. In the South General Diaz, 
having stationed troops to guard all the dangerous points 
in the vast territory committed to his care, was concen- 

257 



DIAZ, MASTER OF MEXICO 

trating forces to -strike the city of Puebla and then move 
on to take the capital. 

Maximilian was in a trap. By this time he had ex- 
perience enough to know that when Diaz and his men 
advanced, it would be impossible to resist him. Both 
Puebla and Mexico City must fall before the onset of the 
Oaxaca hero. In a state of bewilderment he asked his 
Cabinet to advise him what to do; and his ministers, as- 
sisted by Marquez and Mejia, persuaded him to put him- 
self as commander in chief at the head of his troops and 
march out of the capital to make a concentration of force 
at Queretaro. At this time the empire could count only 
on the cities of Mexico, Puebla, and Vera Cruz, and had 
nominally 20,000 troops, including the force of Losada, 
the mighty bandit chief, who, however, presently weak- 
ened Maximilian's support by declaring himself a strict 
neutral in the struggle. ,i~ 

So, accompanied by his ministers, Maximilian left 
Mexico City with Marquez and 2,060 troops, and on Feb- 
ruary i Qth entered Queretaro, where a special Te Deum 
was sung in his honor in the Cathedral. 

Mejia and Miramon were both in Queretaro with 
their troops, so that Maximilian had something like 9,000 
soldiers at his immediate command in Queretaro; but 
when the republican army under Corona and Escobedo 
besieged that city, Marquez escaped by night with 400 
cavalry and hurried to Mexico City, having been named 
by Maximilian Lieutenant of the Empire. General Vi- 
daurri accompanied him. In the capital Marquez formed 
a garrison of 1,000 mounted Austrians, 300 French vol- 
unteers, two bodies of chasseurs, and 2,300 traitor Mexi- 
cans. 

Diaz had already begun his last glorious march against 
the imperialists. Having repelled Maximilian's final 

258 



DIAZ DESTROYS MAXIMILIAN'S POWER 

secret appeal for his support, he united the forces of 
General Figueroa, General Gonzalez, Colonel Palacios, 
General Alatorre, General Juan N. Mendez, and other 
officers, and with 4,000 soldiers moved on to the fortified 
city of Puebla. It was provided with trenches and forts 
and defended by a garrison of more than 3,000 soldiers, 
under the Mexican general Noriega, 

Diaz and his forces arrived in front of Puebla on 
March 9, 1867. He at once occupied the hill of San 
Juan, on the same day taking possession of the convent 
of San Fernando. He extended his investing lines south 
and east but did not inclose the northern line of the city, 
because the forts on the hills of Loreto and Guadalupe 
were heavily defended with artillery. He occupied the 
principal suburbs of Puebla and kept up a steady fire on 
the city. His forces grew stronger as reinforcements ar- 
rived from day to day. 

During these operations the enemy set fire to 'a store 
in that part of the outskirts of the city occupied by the 
republicans, and Diaz in person attempted to extinguish 
the flames. Suddenly the roof caved in. The general 
jumped for the door, but was buried to the waist in cin- 
ders and wreckage. The door fell and exposed him to 
the imperialist soldiers, who fired so close to him as to 
scorch his clothes. Diaz's men managed to dislodge the 
enemy, but marksmen on the opposite side of the street 
kept on shooting at him, and he was powerless to move, 
although his clothes were on fire. Colonel Luis Teran, 
an officer who afterwards played an important part in 
Diaz's life, attempted to save his general and pulled him 
by the arms, but failed to stir him. Diaz faced what 
seemed to be certain death with a calm face ; but an ad- 
jutant managed, with the assistance of a cannon lever, to 
raise the wooden beam pressing on him, and he was 

259 



DIAZ, MASTER OF MEXICO 

lifted out, leaving his boots in the cinders. He was not 
seriously hurt, although he was badly bruised and burnt. 

A rumor that he had been killed spread among his 
troops and demoralized them. Diaz then mounted his 
horse and showed himself before the lines. The soldiers 
burst into a frenzy of shouting and cheering when they 
saw their hero alive. The demonstration was an ex- 
traordinary tribute, and the general was so moved by it 
that he could not speak a word. 

Toward the end of March, General Noriega sent word 
from Puebla to Marquez that Diaz had him in a tight 
place, that two of his generals were wounded, one of 
his battalion commanders killed, and the whole population 
of the city hostile to him. Marquez would either have to 
rush troops to the rescue of Puebla, and if he won, unite 
all the forces of the empire, or let Puebla fall and move 
with the forces in the capital to Queretaro, abandoning 
everything else. 

In the face of this situation, Marquez decided to go 
immediately to the relief of Puebla. With marvelous 
activity he increased the garrison of Mexico City so that 
it could defend itself, and on March 3<Dth he hurried out 
with an army of 4,000 men of the three arms of the ser- 
vice and 20 guns, and started for Puebla to annihilate 
Diaz's besieging army. 

On the next day Diaz received news of Marquez's 
march against him. He instantly recognized the gravity 
of his position. Should Marquez reach him before he 
took Puebla, the republican troops would have to fight 
twice their numbers and would probably be cut to pieces, 
being caught between two powerful forces, numbering 
more than 7,000 men in all. On the other hand, if he 
went out to meet Marquez, the imperialist garrison of 
Puebla would probably follow and attack him in the rear 

260 



DIAZ DESTROYS MAXIMILIAN'S POWER 

while he was engaged with Marquez's strong relief 
column. 

In that dilemma the general decided to attempt to take 
Puebla by storm, in spite of its forts and trenches. It 
was the only chance of escape from a terrible disaster, 
for if Marquez should succeed in destroying the republi- 
can army besieging Puebla, he would be able to march 
with the combined imperialist forces to save Maximilian 
at Queretaro. With his usual sagacity he decided to sur- 
prise Puebla by a night assault. 

No more brilliant strategic action was ever fought on 
Mexican soil, and there is no more convincing proof of 
Diaz's military genius than the plan through which he 
successfully stormed the almost impregnable position of 
his enemy, a fortified city which only four years before 
30,000 picked French troops had not been able to take 
from the republicans until their garrison was starved into 
surrender. 

Although he began to send his sick, wounded, and 
stores on the road to Tehuacan, so that they might be 
safe in the event of his defeat, he was careful to conceal 
his intention to attack Puebla, and no one knew of his 
plan until the night of April ist, a few hours before he 
opened fire. Not even his officers were taken into his 
confidence. 

" If my soldiers had surmised what was to happen, 
they might have revealed the secret and ruined every- 
thing," says President Diaz. " If the enemy had been 
prepared, the sacrifice of lives in the assault might have 
been useless." 

On the night of April ist Diaz called the commanders 
of his forces together in a house at the center of his lines, 
where he assigned the attacking columns, indicated the 

261 



DIAZ, MASTER OF MEXICO 

trenches to be "seized, and with a detailed knowledge 
gained by his former experiences in defending Puebla, 
pointed out the very walls and doors that must be broken 
in entering the city. 

As the Convent del Carmen was one of the most dis- 
tant points from the plaza in the area defended by the 
imperialists, he decided to make a false attack upon it in 
order to divert the enemy's forces from the real fighting 
positions. He then formed seventeen attacking columns 
of about 140 men each, assigning three of them to the 
strategic feint at the Convent del Carmen and concen- 
trating his artillery in front of the intrenchments at the 
convent. 

Observing that the imperialists had not protected their 
intrenchments in the rear he arranged his attack so that 
his infantry fire missing the first trenches in the elliptical 
line of defense, would reach the rear of the enemy's 
trenches on the other side, and, perhaps, in the darkness, 
throw them into confusion and convince them that he 
had forced their lines from the rear. 

" The three columns assigned to the false attack on 
the Convent del Carmen were placed close to the artillery, 
partly protected from the imperialist fire," says President 
Diaz. " The other fourteen columns were formed at the 
various points from which each was to make its attack. 

11 I had a long sheet of canvas, formed of pieces of 
tent-cloth, hung from a wire, which stretched from tower 
to tower of the church on the San Juan hill, and which 
reached to the earth. This was saturated with turpentine, 
and the leaders of the columns assigned for the real at- 
tack were notified that when it was lighted that would 
be the signal for the charge. 

" Most of the enemy's trenches were placed in front 
of buildings, and were aided by rifle fire, from roofs and 
balconies, and from loopholes bored through the walls. 

262 



DIAZ DESTROYS MAXIMILIAN'S POWER 

To partly neutralize the deadly fire from such positions, 
my Legion of Honor, composed only of chiefs and offi- 
cers who had no place in the ranks, were formed into 
groups equipped with ladders, and at the moment of the 
general attack, they were to climb to the tops of the blocks 
of buildings and throw the enemy's riflemen into con- 
fusion. 

" As soon as it was dark I prohibited firing from any 
point of the lines, unless the enemy should attempt a 
sally. 

" This silence, which was soon observed by the enemy, 
and the circumstance that Marquez [who was marching 
with 4,000 men from the capital] was within twelve 
leagues more or less of our rearguard, together with the 
removal of our baggage in the afternoon, must have 
made the enemy believe that we were retreating that very 
night and were then evacuating our lines. 

" Having disposed my forces in the manner indicated, 
I placed myself near the old Alameda, where I could 
watch the movements of some of the true attacking col- 
umns and the three which were to make the false attack. 

" My ammunition was so scanty that in the last hour 
I had to withdraw cartridges from the cavalry and give 
them to the attacking troops, telling the horsemen that if 
they were brought into the fight they could use their 
lances and sabers. 

" The mounted force awaiting orders was placed on 
the south, facing the hills, and thus could serve me even 
in a retreat." 

The false attack on the Convent del Carmen was de- 
livered in the darkness at three o'clock in the morning 
of April 2d, when Diaz's artillery suddenly opened fire 
and the three feinting columns swept forward. But it 
turned out to be a true attack rather than a false one, 
and the force which was intended merely to deceive the 
enemy actually captured the position in front of them 
when reinforced by Diaz's reserves. 
18 263 



DIAZ, MASTER OF MEXICO 

Suddenly tRe turpentine-soaked canvas strung be- 
tween the towers of the church on the San Juan hill burst 
into flame, and at this prearranged signal, the fourteen 
columns of the true attack charged into the city from 
different directions. 

It seemed as though a blazing whirlwind had struck 
Puebla as the republican columns charged through the 
streets, driving the surprised imperialists before them. 
The beautiful churches of the city long afterwards bore 
marks of the smashing effect of that battle in the night. 

" The sharp firing did not last in all of its vigor more 
than ten minutes," says President Diaz. " In a quarter 
of an hour only the towers of the cathedral and the 
heights of San Agustin and del Carmen were being de- 
fended. The enemy's forts on the hills, which had not 
only not suffered attack themselves, but had been rein- 
forced by the fugitives from the city, opened a very lively 
artillery fire against the city, principally over the streets 
in which they could see the masses of my soldiers at the 
beginning of the dawn. 

" The assailants of each trench taken had to pass 
through a canal of fire poured from low windows, loop- 
holes, balconies, and roofs, and to face the fire of the 
artillery and infantry of the trench which they attacked. 

" The vortex of the fight was the Calle de la Siempre- 
viva, which it was the fortune of Commandante Carlos 
Pacheco to attack. Pacheco fought brilliantly. At the 
beginning of the assault, the enemy showered on him 
from the flat roofs not only hand grenades and musket 
shots, but large bombs, as they had only to light them 
and let them fall. The fragments of one of these grenades 
wounded Pacheco in the calf of the leg, but in spite of 
this, and the fact that he was losing many men, he ad- 
vanced up to the trenches. Here some of our soldiers 
threw into the trenches sacks of straw which they car- 
ried for the purpose of bridging the openings. Pacheco 

264 



DIAZ DESTROYS MAXIMILIAN'S POWER 

passed over the trenches among the first, but was wounded 
in the hand. He kept right on up to the corner of the 
plaza, when a grapeshot fired from the atrium of the 
cathedral put some of his men out of action and broke 
his left thigh. One of his soldiers then took him in his 
arms to bear him to shelter, when another grapeshot broke 
his right arm and both arms of the soldier who was 
carrying him. 

" Just then other assaulting columns burst into the 
plaza, that commanded by Colonel Luis Teran, followed 
by that of Lieutenant-Colonel Enriquez and others in 



Just then Diaz rode into the plaza and his victorious 
soldiers greeted him with wild cheers and red-dripping 
bayonets. Bugles were blown, flags waved, and salutes 
fired as the dawning day revealed to the shouting soldiers 
the erect form and tired face of their leader, who only 
a year and a half before had climbed down a rope from 
the roof of his convent prison, just around the corner, 
and fled in the night with two companions to begin the 
extraordinary campaign which had ended in the success- 
ful storming of Puebla and the salvation of the republic. 

The forts of Loreto and Guadalupe still continued to 
fire, but they were reduced by artillery. 

Diaz had not only captured an important part of Max- 
imilian's army, but had seized 6,000 rifles, with abundant 
ammunition, 60 mounted guns, 130 unmounted guns, 
a magazine of powder, and a large quantity of clothing 
and other supplies. He also took about 22 officers f 
and leaders who had been traitors to the republic and ^ 
had them shot, accordingjtojaw. The rest of his pris- . 
oners were carefully guarded, the officers being locked 
up by themselves. 

tt VJ * )--3**v 

In the hour of his triumph the general issued an ad- 
dress to his troops. It is interesting to observe how the 

265 



DIAZ, MASTER OF MEXICO. 

Latin blood of Diaz who was ordinarily so reserved,, 
almost shy in his intercourse with other men flowered 
into rhetoric at such a time : 

" The General in Chief of the Army Corps of the East 
to his victorious subordinates in Puebla: 

" Comrades in arms : I desire to be first in paying 
tribute to your heroism. The whole nation and posterity 
will henceforth perpetuate your glory. Another memo- 
rable date .has been written in the city where Zaragoza 
eternalized his name on the fifth of May. The second 
of April, 1867, will be registered from to-day in the cal- 
endar of the national glories. 

" I hoped much of you. I have seen you, without 
arms, respond to the call of the country, in order to arm 
yourself in Mihautlan, in La Carbonera, in Jalapa, and 
in Oaxaca, with rifles taken from the enemy. You have 
fought naked and hungry, leaving behind you a trail of 
glory ; but, nevertheless, your achievements in Puebla have 
exceeded my hopes. 

" A place not without reason called invincible, and 
which the first soldiers of the world could not take by 
assault, yielded to one single push of your strength. The 
entire garrison and the immense war material accumulated 
by the enemy are the trophies of your victory. 

" Soldiers ! you deserve much of the country. The 
struggle which rends her cannot be prolonged. You have 
given complete proof of your irresistible valor. Who will 
dare measure themselves with the victors of Puebla ? In- 
dependence and republican institutions will waver no 
more ; it is certain that a country which has sons like you 
cannot be conquered or oppressed. 

" Intrepid in battle and sober in victory, you have 
won the admiration of this city by your courage, and its 
gratitude by your discipline. 

" What general would not be proud to find himself 
at your head? While you are with me your friend will 
consider himself invincible. p ORFIRIO DlAZ 

266 



DIAZ DESTROYS MAXIMILIAN'S POWER 

One of the notable things about the capture of Puebla 
more remarkable even than the strategic plan, worked 
out amidst the confusion of one day of supreme peril, 
which enabled Diaz to storm a fortified city without loss to 
his army was the perfect order which characterized the 
attack and succeeded the victory. Although the republican 
troops, gathered hurriedly from distant points many of 
the soldiers being men of desperate character and lawless 
habits had been worked up to a frenzy of indignation 
by the reports of imperialist atrocities, and by the mem- 
ory of Maximilian's Black Decree of October 3, 1865, 
under which republican officers and their soldiers were 
mercilessly executed as bandits, the discipline which pre- 
vailed in Puebla after the battle seemed as perfect as 
though there had been no fight at all. It was the orderly, 
temperate spirit of social guardianship inspired -by Diaz 
even in that day of brute triumph, when the streets of 
beautiful Puebla were in a confusion of trenches, barri- 
cades, and marching prisoners of war; a spirit of con- 
servation and sober self-restraint which his statesmanship 
afterwards extended to every part of his wrecked and 
demoralized country. 

It is in the passions and turmoils of war, when the 
varnish of conventional life has worn off, that the actual 
strength or weakness of men reveal themselves most dis- 
tinctly. With a great city and a helpless enemy at his 
mercy, Diaz showed himself to be a just and magnani- 
mous man. 

The imprisoned officers of Maximilian's army were 
in a pitiful condition of terror. They looked upon the 
republicans as a horde of savages who would spare neither 
life nor property. Believing that they were to be 
promptly slaughtered, they begged their conqueror to per- 
mit them to see their priests and families. 



DIAZ, MASTER OF MEXICO 

" I immediately sent for writing materials and sealed 
paper of every sort," says President Diaz, " and caused 
more rooms to be placed at their disposal, so that they, 
by turns, should be alone with the priests. They em- 
ployed the time until three o'clock in the afternoon in 
spiritual confession and in making their wills." 

Diaz assembled all the imprisoned officers before him 
in the Episcopal Palace and summoned several bishops to 
the interview. Then he addressed his prisoners in a stern 
voice. He told them that they deserved death, but as 
their number was so great, the government of the republic 
might exercise clemency, especially as the republic was 
sure to -win. He then announced that he would assume 
the responsibility of setting them free on parole, but in- 
sisted that they must promise that if he published a notice 
in the newspapers saying that his action had been disap- 
proved by the government, they would at once yield them- 
selves prisoners again. To this they all solemnly agreed. 

One of the officers thus released was Colonel Vital 
Escamilla, who had been political chief of the district of 
Matamoras Izucar, and who, when Diaz escaped from 
Puebla a year and a half before, offered a prize of his 
own money for the capture of the fugitive general, dead or 
alive. Escamilla tried to conceal his identity, but was 
betrayed to Diaz, who confronted him with the printed 
circular in which he offered to pay for his capture, and 
dryly saying that he was glad the Colonel had not lost his 
money, allowed him to sign his parole and go free. 

The general also issued an order throughout his mili- 
tary jurisdiction declaring that " the prisoners taken by 
the Army of the East in the battles of Mihuatlan and 
La Carbonera, in the occupation of the city of Oaxaca, in 
the assault upon this city [Puebla], and in the surrender 
of the forts of Guadalupe and Loreto, shall be set at 

268 



DIAZ DESTROYS MAXIMILIAN'S POWER 

liberty, to reside in the country wherever they choose, 
remaining for the present under the surveillance of the 
local authorities, and at the disposition of the supreme 
government. Foreigners who wish to live in the country 
will be subject to the same conditions, and those who 
wish to leave the country can do so freely." 

After liberating the prisoners, Diaz reported his ac- 
tion to President Juarez. The truth is that Juarez, for 
some reason known only to himself, never made any an- 
swer, and failed either to approve or disapprove Diaz's 
generosity to his prisoners. This was the first evidence 
that the personal sympathies of Mexico's two greatest 
leaders were drifting apart. 



CHAPTER XXIII 

THE MERCIFUL SIEGE OF MEXICO CITY 

WITH the tiger-hearted Marquez and his 4,000 men 
on the road from Mexico, no time was to be lost. 

Putting himself at the head of his cavalry, and or- 
dering his infantry and artillery to follow, the victor of 
Puebla swept out to meet Maximilian's Lieutenant of 
the Empire. 

Tw r ice Diaz met and repulsed Marquez's advance 
cavalry, driving back his main force at San Lorenzo, 
and, being joined by General Guadarrama with 4,000 
patriot cavalry, he tried to surround the enemy, when 
Marquez attempted to escape back toward the cap- 
ital over the bridge of San Cristobal, which crossed a 
deep ravine. But Diaz sent on word to friends of the 
republic to destroy the bridge, and they had partly 
wrecked the structure when Marquez's army reached it. 
The imperialists had to throw nearly all of their artillery 
into the ravine. 

Marquez then attempted to make a stand on the other 
side of the ravine. Diaz hurled his force against the 
enemy w l 'th great energy, whereupon Marquez aban- 
doned his troops and fled for his life to Mexico City, 
leaving 2,000 of his infantry prisoners in the hands of 
the republicans. 

The rest of the imperialist troops were pursued all 
day toward Texcoco. It was a running fight of more 

270 



SIEGE OF MEXICO CITY 

than thirty miles. On the morning of April i2th the 
exhausted fugitives reached the capital, to find that Mar- 
quez, who shamelessly abandoned them at the San Cris- 
tobal bridge, had been there since the day before. 

The Mexican empire was now confined practically 
to two cities. Maximilian, attended by Miramon and 
Mejia, and supported by 9,000 troops, was shut up in 
Queretaro by an army of about 20,000 republicans un- 
der Generals Escobedo and Corona. Marquez and his 
force of 8,000 men in the capital were quickly surrounded 
by Diaz. President Juarez and his government were at 
San Luis Potosi waiting for the grim end of Napoleon's 
blundering attempt to monarchize America. 

Even now another effort was made to tempt Diaz. 
Recognizing the power of his leadership, the strength of 
his armed forces, and his popularity among the hero- 
worshiping Mexican masses, the enemies of the Consti- 
tutional republic in the capital unaware of Maximil- 
ian's vain attempts to seduce or mislead him planned 
a last desperate appeal to his ambition, in the hope of 
saving themselves, and they sent a woman emissary to 
him while he was moving to Guadalupe, from which vil- 
lage he directed the famous siege of Mexico City. 

" During my march from Texcoco to Guadalupe," 
says President Diaz, " Senora Donna Luciana Arrazola 
de Baz came to me from Mexico City. This lady was 
the wife of Don Juan Jose de Baz, who was accompany- 
ing me at the time. She informed me that General 
Nicolas Portilla, who then figured as the imperialist 
Minister of War in the capital, had authorized her to 
offer to me an entry to the city, to be secured through 
some concessions to him, to the principal leaders of the 
imperialist army, and to functionaries of the adminis- 
tration. Nevertheless, the first purpose of the gentle- 
man, I gathered, was to seek a fusion of the two armies, 

271 



DIAZ, MASTER OF MEXICO 

under which, united, and recognizing the positions held 
by the chiefs in each army, they should undertake to 
establish a new order of things, which should not be 
either that known as the Empire of Maximilian or the 
Constitutional government of Sefior Juarez. 

" Of course I rejected these extravagant proposi- 
tions, nor would I consider them even in their least un- 
favorable form, which was that of the conditional sur- 
render of the place ; and I answered that I would consent 
only to unconditional surrender." 

So long as Juarez was the Constitutional representa- 
tive of Mexican independence ; so long as he represented 
the republic as a whole, and not a mere political faction ; 
so long as he was confronted by invaders and traitors, 
who had decreed his execution, neither the love of power 
and glory nor the fear of death could tempt the war- 
worn Diaz to alter his attitude of sleepless and unques- 
tioning loyalty to the President. A weaker or less 
scrupulous man might have served his selfish ambitions 
in such a crisis by finding plausible reasons for repudiat- 
ing the authority of the unreadable and imperturbable 
Indian statesman, whose personality was so offensive, and 
even terrifying, to the Church and the rich and conserva- 
tive elements generally. But Diaz could see his duty 
only through the eyes of an incorruptible, obedient sol- 
dier; and he served as faithfully as he commanded, 
spurning all temptations. 

If proof were needed that in those rough days his 
humanity and love of country surpassed his soldierly ap- 
petite for military distinction or political popularity, it 
is to be found in the siege of the City of Mexico. The 
largeness of the man is seen in the fact that when he 
might have won the glory of taking the capital by storm, 
he maintained a weary siege of seventy days rather than 

272 



SIEGE OF MEXICO CITY 

shed any more blood or subject a population of 200,000 
Mexicans to the horrors of a bombardment and assault. 

His enemies denounced him as an incompetent or 
coward. They even hinted that he had some treacherous 
reason for not attacking the city. They complained bit- 
terly to Juarez and sought to arouse his suspicion. His 
soldiers began to mutter. 

Nothing, however, could move Diaz to unnecessary 
bloodshed, and after ten years of almost continuous fight- 
ing, he sat before the capital for seventy days to save its 
helpless people from the piteous scenes he had witnessed 
when he stormed Puebla only a few days before. 

Hardly had the general begun his siege on April 
13, 1867, by occupying all the land facing west from 
the ranch of Santa Tomas almost to the rock of Chapul- 
tepec, when General Guadarrama and his 4,000 cavalry 
were compelled to leave him and return to the besieging 
army of Queretaro. Indeed, before the end of the month 
General Escobedo asked Diaz to send more troops to 
him at Queretaro, but while Diaz was preparing to do 
this, he received a message from General Escobedo say- 
ing that he would only require ammunition, and thirty 
loaded carts were hurried to him with an escort. 

It was at this time that Escobedo offered to place 
himself under the orders of Diaz, who, had he been the 
ambitious politician his enemies afterwards represented 
him to be, might have instantly gathered in his hands 
practically the whole fighting force of the republic and 
become a military dictator. 

As the days went by, Diaz's army increased steadily 
by the arrival of reinforcements organized under his 
orders in various states. He also brought up artillery 
from Puebla and had workshops opened in that city and 
at Pensacola to supply ammunition. To further complete 

273 



DIAZ, MASTER OF MEXICO 

the siege he rapicHy equipped canoes with mountain guns 
and in this way established a line across the lakes, 
making a floating bridge from San Cristobal to the 
" Penon de los Bagnos " (" Cliff of the Baths "), thus 
connecting his lines with a fortified post threatening the 
city on the east. 

Before the capital was completely surrounded, the 
imperialists dashed out with a heavy force and attempted 
to cut their way through the besieging lines, but Diaz 
drove them back into their trenches. 

Still another attempt was made to save Maximilian 
by an appeal to the soldier who had refused so many 
times to listen to the pleas of the crowned usurper. This 
time the agent was the scheming abbe who had brought 
about Maximilian's return to the capital after the Em- 
peror had started to fly from the country. About April 
1 8th, while the investment of Mexico City was being 
perfected, the Abbe Fischer, Maximilian's personal sec- 
cretary, went out of the City of Mexico to see Diaz, who 
received him in the farmhouse of Los Morales. Trem- 
bling with emotion, the priest pleaded for the life of his 
master, who was surrounded by the republican forces at 
Queretaro. 

" He proposed to me," says President Diaz, " that 
the Emperor should abdicate, with the condition that he 
was to be permitted to leave the country without respon- 
sibility for all the deeds committed during the period of 
his government." 

" You plead for the life of Maximilian," said the 
general sternly, " but who is there to plead for your life? 
Under the law I have the right to order your death at 
once." 

" I care nothing for myself," replied the priest. 
" Take my life, but spare the Emperor." 



SIEGE OF MEXICO CITY 

Diaz answered the abbe by at once sending him back 
to the city, saying that he had no power to arrange con- 
ditions for Maximilian. He then reported the incident 
to Juarez. 

A few days later the Princess Salm-Salm, the Ameri- 
can wife of an Austrian officer in Maximilian's service 
a handsome, romantic, spirited woman, whose pictur- 
esque and daring attempts to rescue the Emperor have 
given her name a place in history also went out of the 
capital and made similar suggestions to Diaz; but he 
refused to take serious notice of her proposals, and or- 
dered her to return to the city, sending an escort to take 
her to the enemy's lines. 

While secret appeals were being made to Diaz to 
assume supreme power, spare the life of Maximilian, and 
organize a new government, the unspeakable Marquez, 
within the capital, boasted of imaginary imperialist vic- 
tories to avert a revolt by the oppressed population. 

From the very beginning of the siege, Diaz, intent 
on preservation rather than destruction, had announced 
that if the imperialists would make a peaceful surrender 
of the city his troops would protect life and property. 
As the days wore on, the representatives of foreign gov- 
ernments in Mexico City, recognizing the merciful mod- 
eration of Diaz's attitude, when he might have let loose 
an overwhelming army upon the capital, urged Marquez 
to surrender. The blood-guilty Lieutenant of the Em- 
pire probably realized that his many crimes against civ- 
ilization had placed him beyond all hope of pardon, and 
he refused to consider unconditional submission, but 
continued his deceitful announcements of the growing 
strength of the imperialist cause, hoping that by delay 
he might find a way of escape, at least for himself. 

The patient general whose army encircled the city 
275 



DIAZ, MASTER OF MEXICO 

was well aware of Marquez's methods of deceiving his 
soldiers as well as the population regarding the real situ- 
ation, yet he forbore to make an assault. He had shown 
that he could fight; he was now showing that he could 
wait. 

When Queretaro was taken and Maximilian and his 
army were made prisoners on May 15, 1867, General 
Escobedo telegraphed news of the event to Diaz, who 
promptly sent the report into the capital. Marquez zeal- 
ously denied the story of the fall of Queretaro and 
assured his army that Maximilian had won a victory and 
was at that moment pushing on with his forces to their 
rescue. 

Prince Khevenhuller, the commander of the Austrian 
and Hungarian forces in the garrison of Mexico City, 
becoming convinced that Maximilian really was a pris- 
oner, and that further armed resistance might endanger 
the Emperor's life, informed Diaz that he would under 
no circumstances take any further part in any combat 
if he were allowed to march with his officers and troops 
and the foreign officials to Vera Cruz, where they would 
at once embark for Austria. 

" I answered the prince," says President Diaz, " that 
I would grant what he asked if he would pass out through 
the line of the siege and present himself to me in Tacu- 
baya with his arms, munitions, and horses, except those 
which were private property, and that, in exchange, I 
would help him with the money and vehicles necessary 
to reach Vera Cruz and embark there. 

" Khevenhuller explained to me that it was impos- 
sible to do what I proposed, but that he would shut him- 
self up with all his forces in the national palace, and at 
the moment when any fight began he would hoist a white 
flag and would take no part in it; and he hoped that on 
account of this I would concede to him just considera- 

276 



SIEGE OF MEXICO CITY 

tion, since his principal object was not to make the 
situation of his sovereign difficult." 

The Baron de Lago, Charge d'Affaires of Austria in 
the capital, also made a visit to Diaz's lines and con- 
firmed Prince Khevenhuller's statement that the Austrian 
troops in the city believed that with the capture of Maxi- 
milian their mission was ended, and that they did not 
propose to prejudice the fate of their sovereign by taking 
part in any more fighting. The Baron was accompanied 
by two lawyers selected by Maximilian to defend him 
before the military court in Queretaro, Mariano Riva 
Palacio and Rafael Martinez de la Torre, who were 
courteously allowed by Diaz to pass through the be- 
sieging lines. 

Queretaro having been taken, General Escobedo or- 
dered General Corona to go with two divisions of troops 
to reinforce the besiegers of the capital. Notwithstand- 
ing this, and other additions to his forces, and the offer 
of aid from the Austrians within the city, to say noth- 
ing of the condition of the besieged population, who 
were on the verge of starvation, Diaz still refused to shed 
any more Mexican blood, but simply narrowed and 
strengthened his circle of investment. 

Those who have found an inexplicable mystery in 
the rapid change from the old Mexico of devastating 
wars, political plots, brigandage, lawlessness, commer- 
cial insecurity, and chronic bankruptcy, to the Mexico 
which for a full generation under the strong leadership 
of President Diaz has grown into a peaceful, prosperous, 
and respected nation, may find an explanation in the 
calm strength and immensity of vision with which the 
hero of so many battles, with the blood of the invaders 
still fresh on his sword, waited for seventy days before 

277 



DIAZ, MASTER OF MEXICO 

the gates of the -City of Mexico. In that spectacle of 
sobriety and self-restraint the future of his country was 
foreshadowed. 

Fresh from scenes of carnage, and while his soldiers 
yearned to avenge the wrongs of Mexico upon Marquez 
and his forces, Diaz thought only of peace, order, and 
the Mexican reconciliation which must precede the res- 
toration of a national consciousness. The regenerative 
instinct of the statesman conquered the passions of the 
soldier. 

So strong was his constructive spirit that in the 
midst of the siege, when he discovered that Maximilian 
had been preparing to dig a new canal for the drainage 
of the Valley of Mexico, he sent for the Emperor's en- 
gineer, who had been in hiding, and demanded to know 
why the work had been stopped. 

This mighty project to save the capital from the 
devastation of overflowing lakes in spite of the eight 
miles of walls built by the Spaniards, 50,000 persons were 
drowned in the capital by one flood was first begun in 
1607, when the Spanish Viceroy, Don Luis de Velasco, 
set 15,000 Indians to work on the cut. Again and again 
the salvation of the city had been vainly attempted. 
It was President Diaz who finally worked out and 
completed the drainage works at a cost of almost 
$16,000,000. 

The engineer declared that he had ceased his work 
because there were no funds. Even on the battlefield 
Diaz ordered the man to resume his task, without wait- 
ing for the end of the siege, agreeing to supply money 
for the purpose from his army funds. 

It is doubtful whether history can furnish a more re- 
markable instance of constructive foresight in similar 
conditions. Such was Grant at Appomattox. 

278 



SIEGE OF MEXICO CITY 

Another interesting illustration of the general's char- 
acter is to be found in the fact that during this siege he 
married his first wife, the Senorita Delfina Ortega y 
Reyes, daughter of the Oaxacan physician who attended 
him after he was wounded, twenty years before, in the 
battle of Ixcapa. This war bride, whose romantic wed- 
ding occurred just outside of the besieging lines at Tacu- 
baya, died in the national palace during the first term 
of President Diaz, and she was the mother of his 
children. 

As soon as the inhabitants of the City of Mexico 
were convinced that Queretaro had fallen and that Maxi- 
milian and his army were prisoners, they became com- 
pletely demoralized. Within the city Marquez brutally 
refused to relieve the starving inhabitants by surrender- 
ing; outside was Diaz and his closely connected lines, 
patient, orderly, and sure of success. 

Every time Marquez attempted to force a way out, 
his men were driven back into their trenches; not even 



a messenger could escape from the inexorable circle of 
republican steel. 

Finally the Lieutenant of the Empire, in sheer des- 
peration, put himself at the head of his troops and at- 
tempted by a sudden dash to cut his way through the 
besieging lines in the direction of La Piedad. The 
Cuartos bridge had been carried and Colonel Leyva's 
battalion had been almost annihilated by the imperialists, 
when Diaz in person led a part of his forces to the rescue, 
and aided by his artillery drove Marquez and his men 
back into the city with terrible slaughter. 

The terror and misery of the people in the beleag- 
uered city increased. Marquez's forces grew weaker 
daily, while the republican army steadily grew stronger, 
until Diaz had 28,000 men massed around the capital. 
19 279 



DIAZ, MASTER OF MEXICO 

Marquez knew trrat the empire had ceased to exist, and 
that Maximilian was a prisoner sentenced to death; yet 
he continued to fly the imperial flag. On June I5th he 
caused the bells of the churches to be pealed and had 
fireworks set off, and an official proclamation invited the 
people to prepare to welcome the Emperor and his army. 
But the end was very near. 

The Mexican traitor, General O'Horan, persuaded 
Diaz to go out between the lines of the two armies at 
night to meet him, and sent a lantern with a red lens 
which was to be used as a signal. The republican leader 
went forth in the darkness with four boys, drummers 
and buglers. When the imperialists saw the red light dis- 
played by Diaz, they instantly opened up a tremendous 
artillery and infantry fire. On the next day O'Horan 
sent word to Diaz that Marquez himself happened to be 
in the trench when the signal was displayed and had 
ordered the volleys which followed. On the next night 
O'Horan came out of the capital and met Diaz, who has 
described the interview : 

" He offered to surrender the city, including Mar- 
quez and the other principal officers, with the sole con- 
dition that I should give him a passport to go abroad. 
I answered that I could do nothing of the kind, for I 
considered the city already mine, and that as for the 
other leaders I would fulfill my duty. O'Horan replied 
that the city would be mine, but that the ' fat chickens ' 
this was his phrase might escape me, whereas, by 
accepting what he proposed, all these would be taken. 

" Convinced that I would not accept his propositions, 
O'Horan said to me, ' Are you very much bent upon 
having me shot? ' ' No, senor/ I answered; ' if you fall 
into my hands, I will simply fulfill my duty.' ' If you 
discover where I am hid, will you send to arrest me?' 
he asked. ' If anyone betrays your whereabouts to me/ 

280 



SIEGE OF MEXICO CITY 

I said, ' I shall have to have you arrested. I can offer 
you neither more nor less.' ' 

Three or four days before the surrender of the City 
of Mexico, General Tavera, speaking for Marquez, went 
out of the capital to see Diaz in an effort to secure con- 
ditions for a surrender. He was compelled to go back 
without results. 

Hardly had Tavera returned to the city when Mar- 
quez, laying hands on all the gold still left in the treasury, 
disappeared. It has been said that the cruel and cow- 
ardly leader was carried alive in a coffin to the cemetery 
of the Church of San Fernando and released at mid- 
night, being assisted in his flight in disguise to Vera 
Cruz by foreign volunteers in the republican army. Diaz, 
however, has always believed that Marquez did not leave 
the capital at that time, but was concealed in the residence 
of a personal friend whose wife had taken pity on him. 
This was one of the few houses left unsearched when the 
republican army entered. The fugitive reached Vera 
Cruz, dressed and equipped as a fruit peddler, was se- 
creted by a kind-hearted merchant Diaz himself was 
many years afterwards hidden in the same room by the 
same merchant and escaped by ship to Cuba, where 
" the Tiger of Tacubaya " is still living at the age of 
ninety years. Even a few months ago, more than forty- 
two years after his escape, Marquez sent a New Year's 
message of congratulation to his white-haired conqueror 
in Chapultepec Castle. 

Another effort to obtain conditions for the surrender 
of Mexico City was made through the Consul-General 
of the United States, Marcos Otterbourg. Diaz received 
Mr. Otterbourg at Chapultepec, but refused to allow him 
to leave his carriage or to deliver any message. 

281 



DIAZ, MASTER OF MEXICO 

" I gave him warning," says President Diaz, " that I 
was then directing an attack upon the city and that I 
would allow him five minutes upon his return there. If 
his vehicle was still on the road after that I would begin 
to fire on it. 

" Notwithstanding, I waited until the Consul-Gen- 
eral's carriage had disappeared beyond the statue of 
Carlos IV before I ordered the artillery to open a gen- 
eral fire and our columns to move forward against the 
city." 

Even then Diaz had no intention of storming a city 
of 200,000 Mexicans. The frequent appeals from the 
city had convinced him that the enemy had lost hope, 
and his order for immediate battle was a mere ruse to 
force a bloodless surrender. President Diaz explains 
what followed this feint : 

: ' When the cannon fire was begun, the enemy in the 
city could not see our moving columns, but these col- 
umns could receive my orders, because my flag-signal 
system was out of the circle of battle-smoke and dust. 
I ordered the columns to return to their camps, and the 
enemy did not observe it. Our cannon fire was answered 
from the city, but as both the enemy's artillery and our 
own used explosive shells, when the imperialists sus- 
pended their cannon fire we thought for some moments 
that they were still replying to us, because our projectiles 
were exploding in their trenches and it seemed to us as if 
their guns were still at work. 

" The mounted guard on the height of Chapultepec 
announced to me that a white flag had been raised on a 
tower of the Cathedral. I ordered the firing to be sus- 
pended and then saw that similar flags had appeared in 
all the trenches of the place. Just as our cannon ceased, 
a carriage, also with a white flag, came out of the city 
by the Reforma Street [this was the wide and beautiful 
boulevard, lined with statues, which the unfortunate 

282 



SIEGE OF MEXICO CITY 

Carlota had built between the city and Chapultepec 
Castle, and called the Road of the Emperor], and it 
brought to Chapultepec Generals Miguel Peria, Diaz de 
la Vega, Palafox, and another, whose name I cannot re- 
call, who came to put the place at my disposal by the 
authority of Tavera, as they had had no news of Marquez 
since the day before." 

Thus, without bloodshed, ended the final attempt of 
European monarchy to upset republican government in 
America. It was June 20, 1867, the day after the sol- 
emn execution of Maximilian, Miramon, and Mejia at 
Queretaro. 

Diaz made no preparations to revenge his country 
upon the armed traitors or invaders. Instead of that, 
he arranged to occupy Mexico City on the following 
day, and he ordered the army bakers, and all the as- 
sistants who could be procured, to work all night, baking 
bread for the starving garrison and population of the 
city. To prevent pillage, he ordered the enemy's mili- 
lary guards and policemen to remain at their posts until 
they were relieved by him, and he organized a complete 
police service from his three Oaxaca battalions, to cover 
the whole city, marking the patrols on a map, so that not 
a single house should be out of sight. While the im- 
perialists in the capital trembled at the thought of what 
might happen to them in the morning, when the victori- 
ous republican army should enter, the conquering general 
spent most of the night working out his plan of mercy 
and guardianship. 



CHAPTER XXIV 

EXECUTION OF MAXIMILIAN 

MUCH brilliant and emotional nonsense has been 
written about the death of Maximilian. Although there 
was a fine swing of sentiment in the last utterances of the 
princely adventurer, and the circumstances attending his 
execution appeal strongly to the imagination, it was the 
poetic and dramatic, not the moral, strain in him that 
inspired so many attempts to represent him as a hero 
or martyr. 

For two months the capricious Emperor of Mexico 
withstood the siege of Queretaro. During that time the 
inhabitants of the city were robbed, beaten, imprisoned, 
and murdered. Every male inhabitant of Queretaro be- 
tween the ages of sixteen and sixty years was forced 
to serve in his garrison. Shops and residences were 
openly plundered and the people shamelessly stripped of 
their possessions, in order that the soldiers might be 
comfortable. 

Toward the middle of May his two principal gen- 
erals, Miramon and Mejia, had planned a sally in force 
out of the city, in the hope of saving their master. Day 
after day this plan was postponed because Maximilian 
was busy distributing decorations and needed time to 
make up his mind as to the honors to be conferred on his 
favorites. His aid-de-camp, Prince Salm-Salm, has 
given a word picture of the fair-bearded, blue-eyed, tall 

284 



EXECUTION OF MAXIMILIAN 

young Austrian usurper immersed in the study of court 
honors while the helpless population around him was cry- 
ing for bread and suffering from the horrors of military 
pillage. 

Now and then he would go to a public garden in the 
rear of the cathedral and sit in the sunlight on the edge 
of an old fountain, idle, dreamy, voluptuous, irresolute, 
even while General Escobedo's army was bombarding 
the city and the patient Diaz was encamped inexorably 
about the capital. 

On the night of May I4th Maximilian secretly sent 
Colonel Miguel Lopez to see General Escobedo. He 
asked the republican commander to permit him to pass 
out of Queretaro with fifty horsemen, in order that he 
might reach the coast and leave Mexico, promising never 
to return. He was careful, however, to conceal from 
his generals his intention to abandon them and save his 
own life. That the Emperor was willing to desert his 
faithful followers, and that he fully understood the 
treachery of his conduct, is proved by the note which 
he wrote to Colonel Lopez : 

" MY DEAR COLONEL LOPEZ : We charge you to ob- 
serve the profoundest secrecy in respect to the commis- 
sion we gave you for General Escobedo, because if it is 
divulged our honor will be sullied. 

" Affectionately yours, 

" MAXIMILIAN." 

The perfidy of the Emperor may be appreciated when 
it is understood that on the very day he sent Colonel 
Lopez to bargain for his escape, he actually held a coun- 
cil of war, at which it was decided that the whole garrison 
of Queretaro should attempt to break the siege on the 
following day. 

285 



DIAZ, MASTER OF MEXICO 

It has been charged that Colonel Lopez accepted a 
money bribe of $30,000 to surrender the city. This 
charge was denied many years afterwards by General 
Escobedo. President Diaz says that Escobedo privately 
informed him, a few days after the fall of Queretaro, 
that Lopez made an earnest attempt to secure Maxi- 
milian's life, and that it was only after he learned that 
further pleading was useless that he asked for his own 
life, agreeing to assist the republican army in taking 
Queretaro. 

Before daybreak on May 15, 1867, Escobedo at- 
tacked the city. Colonel Lopez, who commanded a part 
of the imperialist line of defense, allowed the republican 
troops to pour into Queretaro through the cemetery of the 
Convent de la Cruz. Maximilian was asleep in that con- 
vent. Aroused by the sound of fighting, he dressed him- 
self and rushed out, prepared to fly, only to find the place 
in the possession of the republican soldiery. Almost 
immediately Miramon and Mejia were at his side. The 
Emperor was dressed in a blue tunic, gold-striped blue 
breeches, and high, old-fashioned cavalry boots. His face 
was white. He seemed ill, yet, even then, he asked 
Mejia whether it would be possible to cut a way through 
the republicans. 

The Indian general shook his head. The end had 
come. Prince Salm-Salm says that when his master's 
way was barred by soldiers, he raised one of the Em- 
peror's revolvers, and that Maximilian forbade him with 
a gesture. 

General Corona appeared through the masses of pa- 
triot infantry. Maximilian, who had tied a handker- 
chief to his riding whip as a sign of truce, drew his 
sword, and offered it to the republican general, grandly 
announcing himself as the Emperor of Mexico; but 

286 



EXECUTION OF MAXIMILIAN 

Corona sternly informed him that he was no emperor, 
but a Mexican and a prisoner. 

With death now staring him in the face, Maximilian 
sought to evade punishment for his crimes against the 
people of Mexico by sheer cunning. When informed 
that he must stand trial for his life, he coolly declared 
that he was not the Emperor of Mexico, but having abdi- 
cated the crown two months before, he was merely an 
Austrian archduke temporarily in Mexico. This, not- 
withstanding the fact that two days before his capture 
he was still issuing imperial Mexican decorations. He 
haughtily demanded that as an archduke of the Austrian 
empire he should receive safe conduct to the seacoast and 
be permitted to return to his own country. 

It is true that Maximilian had actually signed a deed 
of abdication, but had hidden it away, and the document 
itself showed that he had appointed regents to per- 
petuate his empire in case of his death. 

Although under a Mexican law passed in 1862 the 
.prisoner might have been shot within twenty-four hours. 
President Juarez ordered that he, with Miramon and 
Mejia, should be publicly tried before a court-martial. 

Maximilian was charged with invading the country 
without right or claim; calling in foreigners to assist 
him in his unjust warfare; overthrowing the Constitu- 
tion and institutions of the country ; destroying the lives 
and property of Mexicans; barbarously decreeing the 
murder of Mexicans who defended their country ; author- 
izing the destruction of Mexican villages and cities by 
his soldiers ; encouraging foreign troops to kill thousands 
of Mexican citizens; and, when deprived of the support 
of foreign troops, employing Mexican traitors to con- 
tinue him in his usurpation of power up to the very time 
when he had been overcome by force. 

287 



DIAZ, MASTER OF MEXICO 

With a courage worthy of a better cause the beauti- 
ful Princess Salm-Salm attempted several times to save 
Maximilian's life. She gained admission to the convent 
in which he was imprisoned, and while attending him, 
with her husband, planned his escape. Prince Salm- 
Salm declares in his published diary that the prisoner in 
arranging for his flight intended to go to Vera Cruz. 
" In that city," he says, " the Emperor expected to find 
more than a million dollars in the treasury, and as the 
Mexicans had no fleet to prevent it he could procure 
provisions from Havana and troops from the state of 
Yucatan, which was in favor of the Emperor. Thus we 
might be able to hold out for at least a year, while Mira- 
mon and Mejia were busy in the country." 

The princess attempted to bribe the Mexican colonel 
who had charge of the prisoners, offering to him two 
drafts on the Austrian imperial family for $100,000 each, 
the drafts being signed by Maximilian. The drafts were 
accompanied by Maximilian's signet ring. The prisoner 
had bribed the guards in the convent. On another occa- 
sion, when all was ready for Maximilian's flight, when 
horses were ready and an escort secretly provided, Maxi- 
milian had not only declined to cut off his flowing fair 
beard, of which he was very proud, but at the last mo- 
ment he languidly informed his would-be rescuers that 
he had decided not to escape that night. The colonel 
to whom the princess had offered a $200,000 bribe re- 
vealed the plot to General Escobedo, and that officer, 
curtly remarking that the air of Queretaro did not seem 
to agree with her, banished her from the place. 

Maximilian was permitted to select lawyers to de- 
fend him, but when the time for trial approached he 
declined to appear before his judges, pleading illness. 
He refused to recognize the authority of the court and 

288 



EXECUTION OF MAXIMILIAN 

had the audacity to write 'a note asking the judges to 
declare themselves incompetent to try him. All subter- 
fuges, however, were in vain, and after a full and fair 
hearing, Maximilian, Miramon, and Mejia were found 
guilty and sentenced to death on June 14, 1867. . 

Extraordinary efforts were made to save Maximilian 
from his fate. The Queen of Great Britain and Napo- 
leon III appealed to President Juarez through the gov- 
ernment of the United States. The Emperor of Austria 
also asked for the life of his captive brother, offering to 
restore him to all his rights in Austria and guaranteeing 
that he would never return to Mexico. Victor Hugo 
wrote a moving letter to Juarez. The President of the 
United States joined in the appeal, but not vigorously. 

The President whom Maximilian had ordered to be 
slain when captured, postponed the day of execution, 
but he declined to interfere with the course of justice. 
Through his minister, Lerdo de Tejada, he declared that 
the prisoner's character was so untrustworthy that he 
could not be depended upon to abstain from another at- 
tempt on the Mexican nation. The sovereigns of Europe 
could give no reliable guarantee that Maximilian would 
not undertake a fresh invasion of the country. The ex- 
istence of Mexico as an independent nation could not be 
left to the will of the governments of Europe. For fifty 
years Mexico had followed a policy of compromise and 
pardon. The result had been repeated wars and an- 
archy. The pardon of Maximilian would not only cause 
confusion and political uncertainty in Mexico, but would 
encourage Europe, which was not willing to see in Mexi- 
cans men worthy to form a nation and looked upon re- 
publican institutions as the dream of demagogues, to 
send new armies across the sea under the pretext of 
civilizing the country. . 

289 



DIAZ, MASTER OF MEXICO 

The day of execution was finally set for June iQth. 
On the night before the tragedy the Princess Salm-Salm, 
who was an American and would not give up the fight, 
made a last appeal to President Juarez in San Luis 
Potosi. In her interesting book she describes her inter- 
view with the great-hearted Indian whose death Maxi- 
milian had so heartlessly decreed : 

" It was eight o'clock in the evening, when I went to 
see Mr. Juarez, who received me at once. He looked 
pale and suffering himself. With trembling lips I 
pleaded for the life of the Emperor, or at least for delay. 
The President said that he could not grant it; he would 
not prolong his agony any longer ; the Emperor must die 
to-morrow. 

" When I heard these cruel words I became frantic 
with grief. Trembling in every limb and sobbing, I fell 
down on my knees and pleaded with words which came 
from my heart, but which I cannot remember. Mr. 
Juarez tried to raise me, but I held his knees convul- 
sively and said I would not leave him before he had 
granted his life. I saw the President was moved; he, 
as well as Mr. Iglesias [the Minister of Justice], had 
tears in their eyes, but he answered me with a low and 
sad voice : ' I am grieved, madam, to see you thus on 
your knees before me; but if all the kings and queens of 
Europe were in your place I could not spare his life. It 
is not I who take it, it is the people and the law, and if 
I should not do its will the people would take it and mine 
also.' ' 

On that same night Maximilian sat in his little con- 
vent cell and wrote a short note to the President : 

"QUERETARO, June 19, 1867. 

" SENOR DON BENITO JUAREZ : Being about to die, 
in consequence of having attempted to discover whether 
new political institutions would put an end to the bloody 

290 



EXECUTION OF MAXIMILIAN 

civil war waged for so many years in this unhappy land, 
I gladly yield my life if the sacrifice will bring peace 
and prosperity to my adopted country. Profoundly con- 
vinced that nothing durable can be built upon a soil 
soaked with blood and rent by violent commotions, I 
implore you in the most solemn manner, and with the 
earnestness appropriate to my position, that my blood 
shall be the last to be shed, and that with a perseverance 
such as that with which you have upheld your cause (and 
which I gladly recognized and esteemed in my pros- 
perity), you will consecrate yourself to the noble task 
of reconciliation and of founding a permanent peace and 
tranquillity in this unhappy country. 

" MAXIMILIAN." 

He had previously written the following touching 
note to his insane wife Carlota: 

" MY BELOVED CARLOTA : If some day you are per- 
mitted by God to be restored, you will hear of the in- 
creasing misfortune which has followed me since you 
departed for Europe. You carried my soul away with 
you. My hopes have been shattered by so many unex- 
pected strokes that death is a joyous release rather than 
an agony. I go down gloriously as a soldier and as a 
king, defeated but not dishonored. If your suffering 
be such that God may summon you to be with me, I will 
bless the divine hand which has been laid so heavily 
upon us. Farewell. Farewell. 

" Your unhappy MAXIMILIAN." 

Shortly after daybreak on the morning of June 19, 
1867, Maximilian, with Miramon and Mejia, were driven 
in a carriage to the Hill of the Bells, on the outskirts of 
the city, where 4,000 soldiers of the republic were drawn 
up to see them die. It is said that on the journey Mejia 
attempted to soothe his master's last hours by telling 

291 



DIAZ, MASTER OF MEXICO 

him that Carlotanvas dead. All through the dread spec- 
tacle this brave but misguided Mexican general, who has 
been described by Prince Salm-Salm as " a little ugly 
Indian, remarkably yellow, of about forty-five, with an 
enormous mouth, and over it a few bristles representing 
a mustache," bore himself with silent dignity. Many 
days before, General Escobedo had offered him a chance 
to escape, but he declined to go unless Maximilian could 
go with him. President Juarez had privately offered to 
pardon him, but he refused to accept a pardon. 

The three men were taken up the slope to a low adobe 
wall and were stood side by side. They embraced each 
other and looked up at the sky. A priest stood near 
them. Maximilian, who was set between his compan- 
ions, surrendered the place of honor to Miramon, who 
loudly declared that he had never been a traitor, asked 
that that stain should not be attached to his name or his 
children's, and cried, " Long live the Emperor ! " 

Maximilian then addressed the troops and the im- 
mense silent multitude assembled beyond them. In a 
ringing voice, and with a more princely dignity than he 
had ever shown before in his career, he declared that he 
died for the cause of Mexican independence and liberty. 
He had been destined to be either a benefactor or a 
martyr. He hoped that his blood might be the last to 
be shed for the good of his adopted country. He then 
advanced and gave a few gold pieces to each soldier in 
the firing squad. At his earnest request his eyes were 
left unbandaged. Looking straight into the faces of his 
executioners, he asked them not to aim at his face, so 
that his mother might be able to recognize his body, and 
then placing his hands upon his bosom and drawing him- 
self to his full height, he waited for the volley which 
ended the scene. 

292 



EXECUTION OF MAXIMILIAN 

It has been said many times and is generally believed 
that if Maximilian had been in the hands of General 
Diaz he would not have been executed. The writer of 
these lines mentioned this idea to President Diaz only a 
few months ago. The President looked very grave and 
cast his glance downward for a moment, obviously 
moved by the suggestion. Then, looking his questioner 
straight in the eyes, he said : 

" I think I should have consented to his death at that 
time not as a matter of vengeance, but as a national 
necessity, as a means of extinguishing the revolutionary 
spirit in the country. Indeed, I feel quite sure that there 
would have been no change in the result had the fate of 
Maximilian been in my hands. The life of a nation is 
more important than the life of any individual. Yet " 
and his great eyes sparkled as he clasped his hands be- 
hind him and straightened his broad shoulders " I am 
glad that the responsibility for his execution was not 
mine." 

Before the death of Juarez's Minister of Foreign 
Affairs, Lerdo de Tejada, he expressed to a friend his 
satisfaction that the Empress Carlota was not in Mexico 
when the end of the empire came. 

" We would have been compelled to execute her 
also," he said. 



CHAPTER XXV 

BRINGING ORDER OUT OF CHAOS 

THE thoughtful mood in which Diaz entered the sur- 
rendered City of Mexico with his army of 30,000 men 
on the morning of June 21, 1867, was indicated by the 
procession of huge wagons piled high with fresh-baked 
bread for the famished people, which followed the glitter- 
ing columns of the triumphant republic. 

As he rode into the state capital of his country in 
a pageant of shining steel, the victor's face had a care- 
worn, almost sad, expression. The responsibilities of 
peace seemed to weigh upon him more heavily than the 
excitements and perils of war. This was one of the 
crowning days of his soldierly career, a day to be remem- 
bered forever in Mexican history, yet he forbade the re- 
joicing multitudes to cheer him or his army, so that there 
should be nothing to arouse party passion and disturb the 
perfect peace and order of his entry. 

Instead of ransacking the city for victims, he saw to it 
that life and property were protected, that the sick were 
cared for, and that food was first distributed to women, 
children, and the aged. He had ordered that no pulque 
(the common native intoxicant) should be brought into 
the capital for three days, and no drunken men were to 
be seen. Not only were the streets policed with extreme 
care, but the military lines of investment were maintained 

294 



BRINGING ORDER OUT OF CHAOS 

by pickets, and no one was allowed to enter or leave the 
city without written permission. 

In order to put an instant stop to lawlessness, the 
general announced that robbery or crimes of violence 
would be punished by death. This order made no dis- 
tinction between friends or foes, soldiers or civilians. 

The only prisoners who presented themselves volun- 
tarily after Diaz occupied the city were General Tavera 
and a few officers and men. Diaz then issued a procla- 
mation summoning all officers of the imperialist army, as 
well as ministers, councilors, and department chiefs in 
the imperial administration, to surrender themselves at 
certain temporary prisons assigned to them according to 
their rank, giving them twenty-four hours in which to 
submit. Only a few obeyed the order, whereupon detach- 
ments searched the city. Among those arrested was 
General Vidaurri, the republican general, who in a critical 
moment of the war, and while he was the republican 
governor of San Luis Potosi, turned traitor, went over 
to the imperialists and attacked Monterey, where Presi- 
dent Juarez and his government had taken refuge. 

" On his arrest being reported to me," says President 
Diaz, " I gave orders that Vidaurri should be deprived of 
his arms and shot immediately, allowing the delay neces- 
sary for the identification of his person. I did this, not 
only because he had incurred the penalty named in my 
proclamation but also because he had helped to prolong 
the war by assisting the imperialists. I also intended that 
his death should be an example to those who had failed 
to obey my orders." 

This was the only imperialist blood shed by Diaz. 

Marquez had escaped, and O'Horan who had vainly 

tried to save himself in advance by agreeing to betray 

Marquez and his garrison into Diaz's hands was still 

20 



DIAZ, MASTER OF MEXICO 

in hiding; but O'Horan was discovered and shot after 
Juarez and his government returned to Mexico City. 

A few days later Diaz disarmed Prince Khevenhiiller 
and his Austrian troops, assisted him to Vera Cruz, and 
permitted him to sail home. Captain Schenet and his 
200 French guerrillas were also disarmed and allowed to 
embark on the same vessel with Prince Khevenhiiller. 

Superficial and careless students of the Mexico of to- 
day frequently express surprise that the republic could 
have risen to such a height of financial prosperity and 
material development under the long-extended presidency 
of a fighting soldier who was first installed in power by 
his victorious soldiers. They forget his youthful educa- 
tion in the law ; they overlook the administrative origi- 
nality and resourcefulness he showed at the age of 
twenty-five years when acting as subprefect in the lonely 
mountain village of Ixtlan; the extraordinary executive 
capacity which enabled him to secure revenue and maintain 
the government of Tehuantepec when he was cut off from 
all outside assistance or advice, and the rare qualities he 
displayed after his escape from prison walls in Puebla in 
raising, equipping, and maintaining his new army, and 
governing the many great states intrusted to his care. 

Seeing deeply into the grievances of his people, and 
recognizing the bitter hardships which more than half 
a century of armed strife had brought into their daily 
lives, he had never allowed the expenses of the war to 
fall on the much-abused general population. Other 
generals knew how to fight, but they did not maintain their 
troops well, and imposed cruel sacrifices on the small towns 
and villages, frequently causing the victims to go over 
to the imperialists, who did not have to live on the 
country. 

While besieging the City of Mexico, Diaz managed to 
296 



BRINGING ORDER OUT OF CHAOS 

pay his soldiers punctually and also to meet the public ex- 
penses of the vast domain in his jurisdiction. Not only 
that, but in spite of all difficulties he actually accumulated 
a handsome surplus. These moneys were not the result 
of random spoliation, but were raised by ordinary state 
taxation, by the orderly collection of fines, and by the 
lawful forfeiture of property owned by Mexican citizens 
who had supported Maximilian. 

So great was Diaz's reputation as a businesslike ad- 
ministrator, and so well known were his prompt and fair- 
dealing methods, that when he entered the capital, he was 
able immediately to raise a loan of $50,000 on his own 
personal credit through Jose de Teresa. A group of for- 
eign merchants, principally citizens of the United States, 
voluntarily advanced $200,000 to him through the Amer- 
ican Consul-General. These loans were wholly paid back 
within a month, and even before the return of Juarez to 
the capital. 

Notwithstanding the passion and disorder of the time, 
Diaz had kept an exact and detailed account of the 
revenues of his administration, including all the moneys 
captured by his troops, from the time when his army fund 
was started with the $3,000 seized in Tulcingo by a pa- 
triotic bandit in his following. When Juarez appeared 
in the City of Mexico, the general transferred to the 
Finance Minister his army strong-box containing 
$87,232.19, in addition to which he delivered more than 
$200,000 from his various finance officers. His total 
economies were represented by the sum of $315,000. 

This demonstration of administrative faithfulness and 
foresight was made more striking by the fact that Diaz 
turned over to the general government a well-fed, well- 
armed, and well-clothed army, fully paid up to the very 
moment of Juarez's arrival. Thus less than thirteen 

297 



DIAZ, MASTER OF MEXICO 

years after the poor young law student of Oaxaca had 
publicly defied the tyrant Santa Anna, he was able to 
greet the returning President of the republic without a 
dollar of debt resting upon his army or his administration, 
and with hundreds of thousands of dollars in his treasury, 
every item of income or expenditure being accounted for 
exactly. 

Not only that, but he had saved the name of his 
country in the eyes of the world at a time when the mis- 
understood execution of Maximilian had sent a thrill of 
horror throughout Europe, and the humane but inflexible 
Juarez was being denounced as a bloodthirsty savage. 

" In a private letter from San Luis Potosi," says 
President Diaz, " the President had ordered me to im- 
prison M. Dano, the French Minister to Maximilian, 
and to turn over to our government the archives of the 
French Legation. I answered to the President that this 
proceeding did not seem to be prudent, but that I did not 
presume to advise him that it should not be done. I 
simply begged him to excuse me from executing the order, 
and declared to him that since there was no longer an 
enemy in the country, I should not feel it to be incon- 
venient to turn over the command of my army to some 
chief to be indicated by him, in order that he should 
carry out his commands. 

" Not receiving an answer to my letter, nor a sug- 
gestion that I should resign my command, I wrote to the 
President several other letters, begging him to give me 
his orders, so that the opportunity to have them carried 
out should not be lost, for the French Minister was urg- 
ing me much to give him an escort to Vera Cruz. 

" When I received Sefior Juarez in front of Tlalne- 
pantla [near the capital] I asked Sefior Lerdo [ Secretary 
of State] why my letters had not been answered, and he 
replied that, in his opinion, I had been right in not lend- 
ing myself to the fulfillment of that order, which would 

298 



BRINGING ORDER OUT OF CHAOS 

have compromised the government. Then I considered 
the incident closed." 



On the very day he entered the City of Mexico with 
his troops, Diaz had sent to Juarez his resignation as 
General in Chief of the Army of the East. The President 
had taken no notice of it. 

There can be little doubt that the great Zapotec, who 
had maintained the cause of the republic in its hours of 
darkness with such noble dignity, courage, and eloquence, 
had become, if not actually jealous, at least resentful, of 
the widespread popularity of his loyal general. After 
all, Juarez was human, and it is known that Ignacio Mejia, 
his Minister of War, who was envious of Diaz's rise to 
the rank of a national hero, constantly sought to influence 
the mind of the President against his once pupil and al- 
ways unbribable friend and supporter. 

One has but to remember how often, and with what 
manly indignation, Diaz resisted all attempts to persuade 
him to abandon or disown the fugitive and helpless Juarez, 
to realize his feelings when, in the hour of his success, 
and after he had offered to lay down his command, the 
President stubbornly ignored his urgent and important 
official letters. 

This coldness which fell between the two great Mexi- 
cans, so alike in their objects and so different in their 
methods and capacities the one energetic, practical, and 
open, the other theoretic, legal, and reserved was the 
then unrecognized starting point of a new division in 
Mexican politics, the genesis of events that ultimately 
changed Mexican history. 

Juarez returned to the capital bankrupt and with un- 
paid ministers, secretaries, and soldiers. In order to re- 
ceive him, Diaz went beyond Tlalnepantla, and in that 

299 



DIAZ, MASTER OF MEXICO 

village the President confessed that for many days the 
soldiers of his escort, a regiment, two battalions, and half 
of a battery, had been without pay. The members of his 
Cabinet had not received their salaries. The general at 
once supplied the money necessary to meet the emergency. 
In spite of Juarez's strange apathy toward him, Diaz 
made elaborate preparations for the President's entry into 
the city. Among other things, he had a magnificent Mex- 
ican banner made at a cost of $240. When Juarez, mov- 
ing through the ranks of Diaz's troops, while the streets 
rang with the shouts of the people and the sound of 
music, reached the ceremonial platform erected in front 
of the national palace, Diaz presented the banner, saying : 

" It may surprise you to notice that the national colors 
are not flying over the national palace. Remembering 
my promise to you when the invaders of our soil com- 
pelled the government of the republic to lower its flag 
and retire from the capital, that you would yet raise that 
flag again on the palace, I have forbidden any display 
of our beloved colors on that building till they are lifted 
to their place once more by your own hands." 

Not many days after this Diaz had a long talk with 
the President, in which he informed him that he intended 
to withdraw from the army and devote himself to com- 
merce. Juarez begged him not to abandon the military 
service, insisting that it would be difficult to take up an- 
other career. 

Juarez then dismissed more than two thirds of the 
army, without making the slightest effort to provide em- 
ployment or pensions for the multitude of officers and 
men thus suddenly thrown upon their own resources. He 
turned an unfriendly face upon Diaz's old followers and 
friends, and began to remove them from office. 

300 



BRINGING ORDER OUT OF CHAOS 

What was left of the army was divided into several 
divisions of 4,000 men each. Diaz, who had been the 
principal general of the republic, was assigned to one of 
these divisions, and without a word of protest, he marched 
with it to take up his headquarters at Tehuacan. 




CHAPTER XXVI 

DIAZ ABANDONS JUAREZ AND TURNS FARMER 

So long as the war lasted, and so long as Mexican 
independence was challenged, the profound moral cour- 
age, deep eloquence, and patriotic fidelity of Juarez made 
him safe from the criticism or opposition of his loyal 
countrymen. With the return of peace his weakness as 
a ruler of men began to show itself. The great Indian 
had a legislative, rather than a governing, mind. With 
the overthrow of ecclesiastical tyranny his real mission 
came to an end. 

Rapt in the contemplation of fundamental theories of 
government which he had been compelled to defend 
through so many years of adversity, danger, and misrep- 
resentation, he had not sufficient flexibility of mind to 
recognize that the immediate problem of Mexico was 
one of strength and skill and not one of principles. 

It is a sound concept of government that law must 
wait upon order. Mexico was socially and politically 
disorganized, bankrupt, lawless. All the highways were 
commanded by bandits, who invaded great cities and 
plundered even in the streets of the capital. The repub- 
lican form of government had been saved, but life and 
property were everywhere insecure. Foreign capital had 
withdrawn from the country and commerce was paralyzed. 

While still in command at Mexico City, Diaz, ignor- 
ing the ordinary law, and availing himself of his special 

302 



DIAZ ABANDONS JUAREZ 

powers, had instantly put an end to pillage by decreeing 
death to anyone who should steal anything of the value 
even of twenty-five cents. His clear, practical mind dealt 
with the realities of life. He saw that the Mexican peo- 
ple were on trial before the civilized world, and that a 
new order of things must be established by intelligent 
force before the nation could be reconciled and consoli- 
dated. A natural governor and administrator, his mind 
was fixed on government itself more than on theories 
of government, and he thought of the objects of de- 
mocracy rather than particular methods of democracy. 

In this spirit he went to Juarez, and pointed out the 
frightful effects of widespread brigandage, not only upon 
the lives and fortunes of the Mexican people, but also 
upon the national reputation and credit throughout the 
civilized world. He urged the President to meet the 
emergency by obtaining a special emergent law authoriz- 
ing the summary execution of bandits and kidnapers. 
The-salvation of-the country from anarchy would depend 
on stern, swift action. The world must know that the re- 
public of Mexico was at least able to maintain public 
order. The investors of other countries must be con- 
vinced that the nation would protect life and property. 

The lawyerlike mind of Juarez shrank from the blunt 
soldier's plan for dealing sudden and terrible justice to 
bandits. Still intent upon the exact forms of law, al- 
though the law was powerless, he answered that, under 
the Constitution, highway robbers were entitled to trial 
in the ordinary courts. They were citizens of the repub- 
lic and could not be deprived of their legal rights. 

Among the statesmen of all countries are to be found 
great political idealists, like Juarez, who see society only 
through their individual temperaments. Looking in- 
wardly upon the well-ordered domain of their own moral 

303 



DIAZ, MASTER OF MEXICO 

natures, their unpremeditated tendency is to minimize or 
overlook the immense and sometimes irreconcilable differ- 
ences in the social and political units upon which govern- 
ment must act. Others, like Diaz, look out upon the 
actual facts of life, see the selfishness, the shallowness, the 
inequality, the natural antagonisms, the moral dullness, 
the social incompatibility, and the absence of any clear 
civic consciousness existing among the undeveloped 
masses of the people, and recognize that, while the objects 
of sound society are just and equal protection and op- 
portunity for all, the compelling force of government 
must be exerted through some and upon others. To 
minds like his, peace and order form the indispensable 
threshold to all else. There can be no collective sense of 
duty where there is no individual sense of duty. The 
ignorance and incapacity of a citizen, Mexican or other- 
wise, cannot be converted into knowledge and ability by 
the simple process of multiplying them several million 
times. 

Both Juarez and Diaz were necessary to the won- 
derful evolution of modern Mexico, and the relative value 
and significance of their services to the nation must be 
determined by an honest consideration of the nature of 
the conditions in which the leadership of each became 
permanent. The form of the government having been 
settled, and the right of Mexicans to conduct their affairs 
in their own way and for their own exclusive benefit 
being now unchallenged, the new problem was how to 
secure internal peace and begin the material development 
of a people so long abandoned to politics and war. 

No one venerated the noble qualities of Juarez more 
sincerely than Diaz, yet his practical mind saw that as yet 
the Constitution in all its parts was not so much the de- 
liberate expression of the will of the enfranchised Mex- 

304 



DIAZ ABANDONS JUAREZ 

lean people, but a party banner, which had become sacred 
because of the blood sacrificed in its name. 

Disheartened by the refusal of Juarez to deal reso- 
lutely with an armed lawlessness so open and so general 
as to amount to warfare, Diaz retired to his military 
duties at Tehuacan and watched the development of 
events. 

Meantime the President, who had already wounded 
Diaz's feelings by coldly ignoring his urgent official com- 



munications, continued toCrjemm^ the general's friends 
from office and to neglect his old comrades in arms, who 
had been suddenly turned out of the military service after 
years of fighting in the field, which had unfitted them to 
take up at once the ordinary employments of private life 
in a disorganized and devastated country. 

Returning to Mexico City, Diaz told the President how 
deeply he was pained by the removal of his friends from 
their positions, not only because his deserving compan- 
ions in war were brought to personal distress, but because 
the authority of the government was as yet so little estab- 
lished that its policy might result in armed insurrections, 
and he did not feel that he could help to put them down 
if he had to fight his friends of yesterday. He particu- 
larly complained of the removal of General Juan N. Men- 
dez, the brave and capable officer whom he had appointed 
to be governor of the state of Puebla. 

Juarez listened imperturbably to the advice and pro- 
test of his general, but declined to alter his course in any 
way. That incident served to increase the personal 
estrangement which in time completely separated the two 
men. 

Scarcely had Juarez been a month in the capital when 
he ordered an election for the choice of a new President 
and a new Congress. This was to take the place of the 

35 



DIAZ, MASTER OF MEXICO 

national election "postponed when the President and his 
government had taken refuge in Paso del Norte during 
the war of intervention. At the same time he ordered a 
popular plebiscite to determine whether the President 
should have the power of a suspensive veto on all acts 
of Congress the veto to be overcome only by a two- 
thirds majority and also to decide whether priests and 
other ecclesiastics, politically disfranchised and excluded 
from office by the Laws of Reform, should again have the 
right of serving as deputies in the Congress. 

The purpose of Juarez in proposing the political re- 
habilitation of ecclesiastics was a magnanimous attempt 
to promote a reconciliation in Mexican society. He who 
had shattered the power of the Church and had stripped 
it of its wealth and privileges, now proposed to restore 
to its priesthood the right of election to office as a sign 
of peace. 

In spite of all his experience, Juarez fatally misjudged 
the time. He was reflected President, but his plan to 
confer the rights of citizenship on the clergy was defeated 
as a reactionary measure. Diaz's friends proposed him 
as a candidate against Juarez, and his name was used in 
spite of his own vigorous protest. The ill-timed effort 
of Juarez to restore the citizenship of the clergy, who only 
a few weeks before had been supporting Maximilian in 
his attempt to extinguish the Mexican republic, revived 
old passions, and the political leaders separated into 
groups, which presently became political parties. 

The President soon realized that he had blundered 
seriously by introducing such an inflammable political 
question into national affairs before the fierce emotions 
aroused through years of war had time to cool off. 

The newly elected Chamber of Deputies was dom- 
inated by the fighting patriots of yesterday, with the 

306 



DIAZ ABANDONS JUAREZ 

heat of battle still in their blood. The President, who 
had been in full control until the Congress met, now found 
himself stoutly antagonized by an organized legislative 
opposition, led by the famous orator, Manuel Maria 
Zamacono. 

Before the suspension of payments on the Mexican 
foreign debt had furnished Napoleon III with his pre- 
text for invasion, Juarez had had a painful experience 
with a talking, contentious Congress. His troubles now 
were not confined to oratorical attacks. The President 
had not only embittered a multitude of the bravest and 
worthiest officers in the army by suddenly turning them 
out of their uniforms into the helplessness of private life, 
and by harshly depriving their friends of office all over 
the country, but he had also discharged the great bulk of 
the military force necessary to maintain tranquillity in a 
vast country accustomed to insurrection as a means of 
redress for grievances, and swarming with armed bandits 
relying for peace largely on the intrinsic virtue of 
democratic institutions in a population to which self-gov- 
ernment was merely a vague sentiment. The laws could 
not execute themselves, and, although the Constitution 
was democratic, the Mexican people had not yet acquired 
the moral unity, self-restraint, and individual sense of 
responsibility of a democracy. 

Here and there groups flew to arms without political 
programmes. In the spring of 1868 there was a rebel- 
lion in Yucatan, which was suppressed. The partisans of 
General Huerta attempted another revolution in Michoa- 
can. There was an insurrection at Sinaloa, headed by 
General Angel Martinez and Colonel Adolfo Palacio. 
Guerrillas, under General Negrete, revolted in Monte de 
las Cruces. Still another rebellion was started in the 
mountains of Zacapoaxtla, in the state of Puebla. All 

307 



DIAZ, MASTER OF MEXICO 

these sparks of revolution were more or less extinguished 
by Juarez, but a rebellion in Tamaulipas proved to be 
more serious. 

From his post at Tehuacan, Diaz viewed these 
familiar signs of approaching civil war with anxiety. He 
had privately attempted to make Juarez see the inevitable 
consequences of his policy but had failed. As he wore 
the sword of the republic he could not countenance any 
act of hostility to the government, nor could he bear to 
think of turning that sword against the old friends who 
had served in arms with him so long, and who now were 
in open revolt against the policy which he himself be- 
lieved must, if persisted in, wreck the republic and dis- 
credit it in the eyes of the civilized world. 

He had intended to leave the army and take up a 
commercial life, and Juarez had talked him out of his 
purpose. Now, like a true soldier, being convinced that 
the course of the party in power meant ruin for the coun- 
try, he once more asked permission to retire from the 
army without pay, in order that he should not be under 
any obligations to the government. The President again 
tried to dissuade him, but in May, 1868, granted his dis- 
charge with full pay. This money Diaz afterwards gave 
to the rebuilding of a bridge for his native city. 

In resigning his sword, the general made it plain to 
Juarez that he was personally and politically out of sym- 
pathy with the government. So careful was he to avoid 
all obligations that might embarrass his future action in 
Mexico, at a time when his name was being shouted from 
one end of the country to the other as the only leader 
strong enough to prevent the nation from committing 
moral and political suicide, that he declined even a nom- 
inal connection with the army, so that in the unfortunate 
event of civil war, he might not have, directly or in- 

308 




DIAZ WHEN HE WAS A FARMER, A YEAR BEFORE HE BECAME 
PRESIDENT FOR THE FIRST TIME. 



DIAZ ABANDONS JUAREZ 

directly, access to or control of government arms or am- 
munition. His determination not to add to the general 
confusion, and to give Juarez and his advisers a fair 
chance to restore order and put the nation on the road 
to prosperity, is shown by the fact that for three years and 
a half, in the teeth of passionate appeals from his friends, 
he refused to draw his sword again. 

Retiring to his native city, Diaz was received in Oax- 
aca as a national hero, and the state, more appreciative 
than the nation, presented to him a house and farm known 
as La Noria. Here, on the outskirts of the city, he settled 
down to the quiet life of a farmer, wearing a huge som- 
brero and coarse blue cotton garments, and working in 
his fields like any other man. 

Nothing could have been more manly or modest than 
the life of the general at this time. Having washed his 
mind of war and politics, he laboriously earned his living 
with his own hands. Week after week, month after 
month, year after year, he strode among his sugar cane, 
a figure of impressive simplicity. The soldier who had 
won distinction with the instruments of death was now 
concerned only with the tools of life. He who had 
spurned the appeals of an emperor was contented with a 
career of manual toil. 

Yet as he walked about the ancient streets of gray 
Oaxaca, with their poverty-stricken Indians, rumbling 
ox carts, and stately churches, or sat in his farmhouse 
through the long evenings, with his wife and new-born 
children, there came to him news of weakness and war 
throughout his country. Nowhere was there a sign of 
leadership strong enough or wise enough to turn Mexico 
from dissensions and war into ways of peace and use- 
fulness. 

In the year 1869 there were new rebellions against 

309 



DIAZ, MASTER OF MEXICO 

the government,, apparently without any definite political 
plan. There was a local revolt in San Luis Potosi, which 
was suppressed. In the citadel of Merida, Yucatan, there 
was another conspiracy, which the military commandant 
quelled, shooting some of the conspirators. On February 
3, 1869, General Negrete, who had been in hiding, again 
declared himself against Juarez, heading the garrison of 
Puebla in a revolt. General Alejandro Garcia pursued 
him and routed his forces at San Mat tirf Atexcal. On 
February 2/th General Diego Alvarez announced that he 
had suppressed a local rebellion in the state of Guerrero. 
The revolt in Tamaulipas was brought to an end, but a 
revolution, begun in San Luis Potosi in the closing days 
of 1869, received new life in 1870, under the leadership 
of General Francisco Aguirre. Generals Larranaga and 
Pedro Martinez were sent by Juarez with troops to crush 
this revolution, but, instead, they joined the revolutionists. 
In this dilemma Juarez sent General Rocha, who was 
successful in San Luis Potosi, but was beaten later on by 
revolutionists at Puerto de San Jose. 

Here, there, everywhere, the people rose in arms. 
The cry of discontent with the government spread rap- 
idly. The cementing force of democratic principles, upon 
which Juarez depended, failed to satisfy a people out of 
employment, oppressed and unsettled by lawless condi- 
tions, and unable to see any promise of betterment in the 
policy of the government. 

With something like 6,000 revolutionists from San 
Luis Potosi, General Garcia de la Cadena marched against 
Guadalajara, passed through its outskirts, and moved 
southward. A government force under General Rocha 
defeated the 6,000 insurgents at Lo de Ovejo. Then 
Generals Garcia de la Cadena and Pedro Martinez moved 
to the state of Zacatecas with about 2,800 men, and de- 

310 



DIAZ ABANDONS JUAREZ 

feated a government force under General Donate Guerra 
at Villa- Nueva, after which they occupied the capital of 
the state, where the revolution was maintained, while 
General Martinez, with half of the insurgent troops, went 
to Tamaulipas. General Guerra, being reinforced by the 
government, continued his campaign against General 
Cadena, while General Rocha, with government troops, 
followed up General Martinez's insurgents, who were 
finally defeated by General Trevino. Meanwhile Gen- 
eral Guerra was extinguishing the rebellion in Zacatecas. 
In time the rebels under Martinez at Tamaulipas were 
conquered by General Corella. 

For the time armed resistance was arrested by Juarez. 
Still, the affairs of the country were in confusion, and 
there was no real principle of authority in the republic 
sufficient to produce anything but a sullen and temporary 
peace. 

All through this period of strife, poverty, and inse- 
curity Diaz refused to lend his name or influence to the 
disorders which continued to wreck the already miser- 
able fortunes of Mexico. Bitter complaints poured in on 
him from all sides. The friends who had stood with him 
on so many battlefields tried in vain to move him from 
his farm into the field of national affairs. 

Keenly alive to the fact that Diaz had wholly with- 
drawn his support from Juarez, and that he alone, per- 
haps, had strength enough to organize an effective op- 
position, the government newspapers began to attack and 
ridicule the general in his chosen retirement. To their 
brutality and stinging malice he made no reply. There 
can be little room for doubt that at this time Juarez, 
high-minded though he was, had become intensely irri- 
tated by Diaz's increasing popularity. Both men were 
natives of Oaxaca. It must have galled the pride of the 
21 3 11 



DIAZ, MASTER OF MEXICO 

President to see* his own state heap honors on the head 
of one who had broken with him. How far Juarez was 
personally responsible for the pitiless and persistent 
flings at his old commander in the administration press 
can never be known. This stupid campaign of sneers and 
jibes at first puzzled and then exasperated Diaz, yet in 
such delicate conditions nothing could provoke him to 
emerge into the storm. 

Nevertheless, the silent farmer of Oaxaca was not 
indifferent to the misfortunes of his people. In the calm 
of his seclusion he searched the story of his country, 
from the time when its altars dripped with human blood 
and its omnipotent priesthood were cannibals, down 
through the centuries of Spanish tyranny and spoliation, 
through the terrible struggle for independence, and the 
prolonged chaos of civil war which followed the adop- 
tion of an Anglo-Saxon democratic Constitution for the 
government of uneducated masses whose remote his- 
tory and racial origin were still a mystery. Even now 
Mexico was trembling with her ancient passion for 
armed rebellion futile and aimless. There was strength 
in this spirit of independence, this willingness to bleed 
and to die, if it could be kept from scattering into un- 
thinking and unrelated disorder. 

President Juarez now represented national stagna- 
tion. The triumph of the principles of independence and 
self-government was in itself almost barren of results. 
What was needed was a bold and powerful initiative that 
could turn from the past to the future and resolutely take 
the practical road to prosperity. 

All this time Juarez was struggling with what used 
to be the chronic difficulty of Mexican administrations, an 
embarrassed treasury. The national expenses mounted 
up to $20,000,000 a year, with a revenue in the neigh- 

312 



DIAZ ABANDONS JUAREZ 

borhood of only $14,000,000. The demoralization of 
the customhouse service was so great, because of smug- 
gling and official corruption and inefficiency, that it was 
estimated that out of every dollar paid in duties the 
government barely received from thirteen to eighteen 
cents. 

Under such circumstances the maintenance of an 
effective police system was impossible. Crimes of vio- 
lence increased at a terrifying rate. The custom of kid- 
naping rich men and holding them for ransom became 
common. Two years after Juarez had rejected Diaz's 
advice to adopt summary methods for the extermination 
of such crimes, the President asked the Congress for 
power to shoot kidnapers without trial. The debates 
were stormy and the government administration was vio- 
lently attacked. The power was at first refused, but later, 
in the year 1869, it was reluctantly granted. 

There was discontent in the army itself, for the offi- 
cers were not only unable to get their current pay, but 
saw little hope of securing the arrears pay for their 
services against the French and the empire. 

Commerce sank from bad to worse. Brigandage con- 
tinued to flourish. The cities were unhealthy and ill kept. 

Nearly all classes, good, bad, and indifferent, looked 
to Diaz to remedy these evils. That the disaffection and 
discontent in Mexico was real, and existed independently 
of Diaz, is proved by the fact that there were rebellions 
against the government in 1870 in territories so far sep- 
arated as the northwest of the republic and the peninsula 
of Yucatan, thousands of miles apart. 

Looking deeply into the intolerable condition of the 
country, Diaz gradually came to the conclusion that in 
order to secure a permanent peace, in which the work of 
developing the riches of the country and the intelligent 

3*3 



DIAZ, MASTER OF MEXICO 


employment of its energies might begin, it would be 

necessary to direct certain elements of strife into a fixed 
course, with a sane and practical policy in view, and to 
achieve this he must himself take the lead. 

Still hoping that the country might be saved from a 
return to anarchy by peaceful methods, Diaz was again 
elected to the Congress in September, 1870. On his 
arrival in the capital he was at once surrounded by the 
leaders of the opposition to Juarez, who urged him to 
unite the progressive elements of the country by assum- 
ing the general leadership of the movement. Crime was 
rampant, industry was prostrated, capital had been fright- 
ened out of business. Diaz was under no obligations to 
the President, who had deeply wounded his pride and 
persecuted his friends. He had written from Oaxaca to 
Juarez, telling him in plain terms that he would accept 
no favors from him and that he could not support his 
administration. Nevertheless, he hesitated before re- 
nouncing the great Zapotec, even for the sake of his 
country. He found the new Congress to be as garrulous 
and futile as that in which he sat as a deputy in 1861. 
It wasted its time in talking and in obstruction. Diaz 
saw no hope of peace and of prosperity in legislative de- 
bates or parliamentary intrigues. The demand of events 
was for executive enterprise, strength, and courage. 

Disgusted by the noisy quarrels of the Congress and 
the executive weakness of the national administration, 
the general returned to La Noria and resumed work on 
his sugar cane. 

The principle of civil war was again working power- 
fully in the nation. In 1871 there was a rebellion at 
Tampico, led by Lieutenant-Colonel Maximo Molina, 
who used government troops to head the uprising and 
put Tampico in a state of defense. On June nth Gen- 



DIAZ ABANDONS JUAREZ 

eral Rocha, representing the government, attacked the 
city with great bravery and, after a battle of an hour and 
a half, captured it. The leaders were executed. The 
Maya Indians of Yucatan withdrew from the principal 
towns and remained indefinitely in arms against the 
government. 

Notwithstanding the general confusion and dissatis- 
faction, Juarez again entered the field in 1871 as a can- 
didate for a fourth term as President, and his minister, 
Lerdo de Tejada, was nominated as his opponent. The 
news caused a great political upheaval. 

In this crisis Diaz consented to be a candidate for 
President against Juarez. It is said that if Diaz had not 
previously withdrawn his support from Juarez, that the 
President would have refused to be a candidate and 
would have proposed the general as his successor. How- 
ever that may be, the electoral campaign was a bitter one. 
The supporters of Diaz claim that he received a majority 
of the votes. Even Don Matias Romero, the brilliant 
statesman and diplomatist, who served in the cabinets of 
both Juarez and Diaz, deliberately committed to writing 
in 1892 his opinion that " in the presidential election held 
in June and July, in 1871, General Diaz received a greater 
number of votes than Juarez himself, notwithstanding 
the latter's great service to his country, and that he was 
Constitutional President of the Republic during the 
election." 

In spite of this, the new Congress, which was dom- 
inated by the President's partisans, declared Juarez 
elected President for another term. The opposition was 
roused to a high pitch of fury. Juarez was loudly ac- 
cused of having falsified the results of the election in 
order to retain power which he did not know how to use. 
Foreseeing this, the governor of the state of Nuevo 

315 



DIAZ, MASTER OF MEXICO 

Leon, General Trevino, had publicly renounced Juarez's 
government and had declared Diaz to be the President 
of Mexico. Two weeks after the announcement of 
Juarez's reelection by the Congress there was an armed 
uprising against him in the capital, the insurgents seiz- 
ing the arsenal. This rebellion was headed by Generals 
Negrete, Chavarrie, and Toledo. Juarez was dining in 
the palace when he heard of the outbreak and he sent 
General Rocha with a brigade of infantry to attack the 
arsenal, and General Guerra with a brigade of cavalry to 
cut off all means of escape. General Rocha had at- 
tempted to resign from the army several times in order 
to take part with the opposition. Having the obliga- 
tions of a soldier, however, he captured the arsenal at 
midnight after several hours of hard fighting. Juarez 
had most of the insurgent leaders promptly executed. 
Uprisings in other parts of the country were bloodily 
suppressed. 

There had been a meeting of the leaders of the op- 
position to the Juarez government at the house of Gen- 
eral Pedro Ogazon, later on Minister of War, in Mexico 
City. Here Diaz was entreated to put his strength into 
the movement and become the leader. The speakers in- 
sisted that only war could overthrow an administration 
perpetuated by fraud, and prevent Mexico from revert- 
ing to anarchy. Finally, the lawyer Vallarta, afterwards 
President of the Supreme Court, rose to his feet and in a 
passionate speech, pointing to Diaz, who sat silent and 
reluctant, cried out that if the general refused to lead a 
movement absolutely necessary to the life of the Mexican 
nation he was nothing more than a traitor. The gen- 
eral's eyes flashed and the blood came to his face, yet he 
clenched his teeth and remained mute. 

But the slaughter of the insurgents in the capital 



DIAZ ABANDONS JUAREZ 

moved to action the nature that had resisted all appeals 
before. The soil of Mexico was again being wet with 
Mexican blood. A ghastly vista of civil war opened 
itself to the experienced mind of Diaz. One resolute 
blow and the spilling of blood might be brought to an 
end. 

With that vision before his eyes, the general, on No- 
vember 8, 1871, signed and sent forth from his farmhouse 
at Oaxaca his celebrated political programme known as 
the "JPlan of La Noria^' in which he denounced the gov- 
ernment, declaring that the forced and violent reelection 
of Juarez had placed the national institutions in peril; 
that a shameless majority in Congress had prostituted 
the national legislature to the executive power ; that the 
judges had been converted into submissive agents of the 
executive government; that the sovereignty of the states 
had been sacrificed to the blind caprice of personal 
power; that the government had suppressed the will of 
the people by barbarous butcheries; that the public in- 
come was wasted and the national and foreign debts left 
unpaid, and that, in general, the promises of the Consti- 
tution had not been fulfilled. The " Plan of La Noria " 
proposed a convention of three popularly elected repre- 
sentatives for each state to adopt a programme of Con- 
stitutional reconstruction and select a President. The 
main burden of this protest was opposition to the in- 
definite continuation of Juarez in power. 

The temper in which Diaz unsheathed his sword is 
suggested by the following characteristic extract : 

" During the revolution at Ayutla I left school to 
take up arms out of hatred of despotism ; in the War of 
the Reforms I fought for our cause ; fighting against for- 
eign invasion, I sustained the national independence 

3 1 ? 



DIAZ, MASTER OF MEXICO 

until I re-established the government in the capital of the 
republic. 

" In the course of my political life I have given suffi- 
cient proofs that I do not aspire to power nor to office; 
but I have contracted grave obligations respecting the 
liberty and independence of the country toward my com- 
rades in arms, whose co-operation has enabled me to 
achieve difficult enterprises, and toward myself, that I 
shall not be indifferent to public evils. 

" At the call of duty my life is a tribute which I have 
never denied to the country. My poor patrimony, which 
I owe to my grateful fellow citizens, improved by my 
personal labor, and whatever small endowments I have 
I consecrate all from this moment to the cause of the 
people. If victory crowns our efforts, I will return to 
the quiet of my domestic hearth, preferring the frugal 
and peaceful life of the obscure farmer to the ostenta- 
tions of power. If, on the contrary, our adversaries 
triumph, I shall have fulfilled my last duty to the 
republic." 

Thus Diaz once more took the field in arms. The old 
fighting look came into his face. In an act of supreme 
moral courage he had chosen between Juarez and Mexico. 



CHAPTER XXVII 

UNSHEATHING HIS SWORD AGAINST JUAREZ 

THE result of the revolt against Juarez in 1871 justi- 
fied the long reluctance of Diaz in accepting the leader- 
ship against such fearful odds. 

It was a desperate and disastrous year for the man 
who was in time to make Mexico the wonder of Latin 
America. He who had maintained the cause of Mexican 
independence on so many battlefields was to be hunted 
like a wild beast. 

Hardly had he consented to head the revolution, 
when the government sent a powerful force against 
Oaxaca, under Generals Ignacio Alatorre and Sostanes 
Rocha, and at the same time Juarez fomented a counter- 
revolution against the local administration of General 
Felix Diaz, who was governor of the state of Oaxaca, 
and was supporting the rebellion against Juarez under 
his great brother's leadership. 

In the North the fight against the government was 
carried on by such generals as Trevino, Naranjo, Donato 
Guerra, and Garcia de la Cadena, but in Oaxaca the 
revolutionists were overwhelmed by the forces suddenly 
concentrated by the government. 

There was but one chance to win under such perilous 
conditions. On November 19, 1871, Diaz issued from 
his headquarters in Huajuapam an appeal to the gov- 
ernment troops to join him in saving the country from 

3*9 



DIAZ, MASTER OF MEXICO 

anarchy and corruption, and thus avoid shedding the 
blood of old comrades in arms. Nine days afterwards 
General Alatorre issued a counter-appeal from Acatlan, 
entreating the soldiers to stand up by the government. 
Under the tremendous pressure put upon them, the 
government troops decided to support Juarez. This 
unexpected turn of events forced Diaz to change his 
plan of action. Having failed to persuade the armies of 
Alatorre and Rocha to join him, he saw that the gov- 
ernment forces were closing in irresistibly on Oaxaca 
from Puebla and that the counter-revolution in Oaxaca 
was growing stronger. It was all important that he 
should not allow himself to be captured and thus deprive 
the revolution of its leader. 

Putting General Luis Teran in charge of the revolu- 
tionary forces in Oaxaca, Diaz swiftly marched from 
Huajuapam, avoiding the forces of General Rocha, and 
moved toward Vera Cruz. He was hotly pursued by 
a heavy force commanded by General Rocha, and to 
avoid a hopeless battle he moved rapidly over the states 
of Mexico, Puebla, Morelos, Hidalgo, Tlaxcala, and 
Vera Cruz, intending to return to Oaxaca. In the mean- 
time General Jose Ceballos defeated 500 revolutionists 
under Matias Rosas, and on December 22d General 
Loaeza smashed the Diaz force under General Teran in 
the bloody battle of San Mateo Sindihui. This crushed 
the rebellion in Oaxaca. 

With his forces dispersed, Governor Felix Diaz took 
refuge in the forests of the Pacific coast region. Ad- 
verse winds prevented him from escaping by sea and he 
hid in the mountains. He was captured by a force of 
Tehuantepec Indians from Juchitan, who first tortured 
and then murdered him, on January 23, 1872, leaving his 
mutilated body on the roadside. 

320 



AGAINST JUAREZ 

In January, 1872, Porfirio Diaz was holding his own 
with 500 or 600 men at Soyaltepec, in the north of 
Oaxaca, near the borders of Vera Cruz, and General 
Alatorre was massing infantry, cavalry, and artillery 
against him. At that time the leader of the revolution 
was ill. 

Learning of the disasters to his followers in Oaxaca, 
Diaz took refuge in the heart of the Zongolica moun- 
tains near Orizaba. 

So thoroughly did Diaz disappear ^from the sight 
and knowledge of men, that for a~ long time it was be- 
lieved that he was dead. From time to time the govern- 
ment newspapers taunted the revolutionary elements by 
insisting that their leader was dead or had permanently 
withdrawn from the struggle. This period in Diaz's life 
has always been treated as an unfathomable mystery. 

The truth is that when the general recognized the 
hopelessness of continuing the fight in the South under 
such circumstances, he decided to slip through the lines 
of his enemies, reach the North, where his followers 
would be in a better position to maintain the revolution, 
and vanish from sight until the psychological moment for 
striking arrived. 

Strangely enough, all of the biographers of Diaz 
have failed to make any reference to this part of his 
extraordinary career, as though the adversities of the 
world's great men were not as interesting, and perhaps 
more instructive, than their victories. 

Diaz secretly reached Vera Cruz, made his way to 
Havana, then to New Orleans, across the continent to 
California, taking ship down to Manzanillo, where he 
landed on Mexican soil again. 

With an escort of about 100 mounted men he 
started to the North to visit and organize the revolu- 

321 



DIAZ, MASTER OF MEXICO 

tionary forces in Chihuahua and Sonora. On the way 
he was attacked by a strong government force, sent from 
Guadalajara. His escort was scattered and he was pur- 
sued for a long time. Yet now and then he brought his 
Winchester rifle to his shoulder and one of his pursuers 
dropped. 

Disguised and accompanied by a single servant, Diaz 
was passed on from one secret escort to another through 
the country to the territory of Tepic. So carefully were 
his movements guarded that even General Mena, his de- 
voted supporter, was unable for months to find any trace 
of his whereabouts, and it was only. by following the trail 
from escort to escort that Mena was finally able to 
reach him. 

The leader fled to the mountains of Tepic because 
in that part of the country the great and powerful bandit 
Lozada had broken the power of the government. This 
notable outlaw and his Indian followers had so cowed 
the government representatives that sometimes they did 
not dare to publish the laws in his mountain domain. He 
had even divided the lands among his Indians, and to 
prevent any interference had seized the small force of 
government troops. Here, at least, Diaz would be safe 
until he could have time to prepare to press his revolu- 
tion to a successful conclusion. 

The general found a home in the house of General 
Placido Vega. General Vega had been governor of 
Sinaloa, and, having been sent by Juarez to buy arms in 
California, had been prosecuted for malfeasance, and 
was himself a refugee. 

It has been insinuated by the enemjes of President 
Diaz that, in some way not specified, he aided the dread 
Lozada in invading one of the Mexican states. Nothing 
could be more absurd. Lozada saw Diaz several times, 

322 



AGAINST JUAREZ 

but never knew who he really was. One day General 
Vega introduced Diaz to Lozada as an artisan named 
Joaquin Iturbide. This was in the small. town of San 
Luis de Lozada, about six miles from the city of Tepic. 
Ever after Diaz was known in that part of the country 
as Joaquin Iturbide. 

While thus concealed from the pursuit of his enemies, 
Diaz was not idle. Soon after his arrival in Lozada's 
country a bronze founder from Sinaloa undertook to 
cast a large church bell in the atrium of the church of 
San Luis de Lozada. The bandit chief and the cure 
watched the operation. Diaz stood in the onlooking 
crowd of Indians. Just as the bell metal was about to 
be poured into the mold, he raised his voice and warned 
Lozada and the priest to stand back, as the casting might 
burst. At this the bandit asked him what he knew about 
such a matter. The disguised general answered that he 
was a bronze founder by occupation. As a matter of 
fact, he actually had cast bronze cannons during the War 
of the Reforms. Lozada then demanded to know 
whether, if the casting failed, he would undertake to 
make the bell. Diaz promptly consented. The casting 
turned out to be a failure, whereupon the future Presi- 
dent of Mexico cast the bell with his own hands. It 
weighed a ton and is to-day still hanging in the church 
of San Luis de Lozada, a witness of his skill and re- 
sourcefulness. After this feat he was known among 
Lozada's people as " the Master." 

Although Diaz was known only as a bronze founder, 
and nobody suspected the life of distinction, power, and 
thrilling adventure that lay behind the strong, grave 
face of " Joaquin Iturbide," there was something about 
him, something of dignity and quiet masterfulness, that 
won the respect of the people about him, and long after 

323 



DIAZ, MASTER OF MEXICO 

he disappeared* from the bandit's stronghold, the deep- 
chested bronze founder with the commanding head and 
compelling dark eyes was still referred to as " the Master." 

During this time the revolutionists in the North un- 
der General Trevino were pursued by a superior force 
of government troops under General Rocha. The main 
body of insurgents finally made a stand at the hill of La 
Bufa, near Zacatecas, under General Donato Guerra, 
who had resigned from the regular army to support Diaz. 
Here the revolutionists were routed. After this disaster 
Generals Trevino and Naranjo retreated to the state of 
Nuevo Leon, where they beat a government force near 
Monterey. 

In the end of June, 1872, Diaz was found by his 
friends in the mountains of Tepic, and he promptly went 
to the state of Chihuahua to take command of the rev- 
olutionary troops gathered there by General Guerra. He 
immediately fought a battle against government forces 
under General Terrazas for possession of the important 
city of Chihuahua, .and was victorious. But on July 18, 
1872, he was surprised by news of the sudden death of 
President Juarez in Mexico City. 

As the permanence of Juarez in power was the prin- 
cipal cause of the revolution, Diaz was ready to lay down 
his arms and support Lerdo de Tejada, who, as Presi- 
dent of the Supreme Court, was the Constitutional suc- 
cessor of Juarez. At first the general resented the 
patronizing tone adopted by the new President in de- 
claring an amnesty to Mexican citizens in arms. He 
called several councils of his generals and addressed a 
ringing protest to President Lerdo. For a few weeks 
it seemed as though Diaz's pride would not permit him 
to accept an amnesty which reflected on his patriotism; 
but in the interests of peace he finally abandoned the 

324 



AGAINST JUAREZ 

struggle and frankly recognized the validity of the ex- 
isting government. 

In the complete peace that followed, Lerdo was 
regularly elected President of the republic for the term 
beginning December i, 1872. Diaz returned to his farm- 
house in Oaxaca, where he was keenly watched by gov- 
ernment agents, who knew that he had not been con- 
quered, but had voluntarily withdrawn from the struggle. 



CHAPTER XXVIII 

FIGHTING FOR AN ENDURING MEXICO 

HAVING again sheathed his sword, Diaz sold his 
farm, La Noria, and bought a sugar plantation near 
Tlacotalpam, in the rich coast lands of the state of Vera 
Cruz. Here the general, in the blue cotton dress and 
sombrero of a common farmer, lived in a humble one- 
story plaster house and worked among his sugar cane 
from morning to night. 

He had visited the capital and his name was roared 
by his friends, while honors were showered in upon him 
from many states. But his mind shrank from the clamor 
of politics. The country needed peace, in which its 
wounds could be healed and its strength nourished. Per- 
haps President Lerdo might satisfy the necessities of the 
nation, restore order, revive credit, and turn the mind of 
the Mexican people from politics and fighting. 

Away on his lonely plantation, far removed from 
the scenes of his victories and sufferings, Mexico's great- 
est soldier toiled hard for his living. Not a word of 
complaint did he utter. He had sacrificed all for the 
sake of his cause. Now he was content to earn his bread 
in the sweat of his face and enjoy the dignity of peaceful 
labor, remote from the sounds of political agitation. 

^jQn the day of Juarez's death there was less than 
$2,000 m the national treasury, a large part of the army 
was unpaid, and some of the civil employees of the gov- 

326 



FIGHTING FOR AN ENDURING MEXICO 

ernment had not received their salaries for a year and 
a^Jjalf. The President's attitude of suspicion and hos- 
tility toward other countries had deprived Mexico of 
foreign capital. With little credit in the money markets 
of the world, and the internal resources of the country 
almost entirely exhausted, the Mexican people were with- 
out the means of developing the immense natural wealth 
of their states. 

President Lerdo, however, began his term of office 
with everything in his favor. His prestige as the prin- 
cipal minister of Juarez, his high reputation as a man of 
intellect and learning, the peace which followed the with- 
drawal of Diaz these and other conditions favored the 
success of his administration. But he had the mind of 
a lawyer and politician and was too much absorbed in 
legislative theories and the subtleties of partisan com- 
binations to make a constructive and progressive ruler. 

The mighty bandit Lozada, who for fifteen years had 
maintained his murderous reign in the mountains of 
Tepic, and who for political reasons had been protected 
in the past by Lerdo, offered to submit to the President. 
Later on, when his chiefs rebelled against his plan of 
peace, Lozada attempted to overthrow the national gov- 
ernment. He rapidly gathered a powerful force of In- 
dians, issued a " plan " on January 17, 1873, in which 
he called on the nation to assert itself, and sent an expe- 
dition of 2,000 men against Zacatecas, another of 3,000 
men against Sinaloa, and with still another force of 
7,000 men, which he himself headed, he marched against 
Guadalajara. These expeditions were promptly defeated. 
Lozada fled to the mountains of Alica, where he was sur- 
rounded, captured, and executed in the outskirts of Tepic. 
It is to the credit of Lerdo that this terrible enemy of 
society was destroyed during his administration. 
22 327 



DIAZ, MASTER OF MEXICO 

Lerdo also? in September, 1873, brought about the 
incorporation of the famous Reform Laws into the Con- 
stitution and reestablished the Senate. The first rail- 
way of Mexico, from Mexico City to Vera Cruz, was 
opened on January i, 1873. 

Great hopes had been based upon the character and 
abilities of Lerdo, but his stubborn, unprogressive, and 
restrictive policy in foreign affairs and his dense, sta- 
tionary attitude toward the development of the material 
resources of the interior failed to satisfy the aspirations 
of the country for substantial progress. 

For a while the old partisans of Juarez joined with 
Lerdo in jealous opposition toward the friends of Diaz. 
This temporarily increased the President's strength. 
Soon, however, signs of public dissatisfaction began to 
appear in different parts of the republic. The people 
became restless. Peace had improved conditions of busi- 
ness, but the government was stagnant, official corrup- 
tion was rampant, and everything was sacrificed in the 
presidential game of party politics. Long and loud was 
the cry for the reappearance of Diaz. In the Congress 
Lerdo was bitterly denounced and opposed. He refused 
to hear or see. 

Millions of American dollars were waiting to con- 
nect the rich soil of Mexico with the United States by 
railways, through which the energizing currents of com- 
merce could flow into the dying fields of Mexican in- 
dustry. But Lerdo was in the thrall of the past, blinded 
and dulled by its passions and prejudices. His reply to 
all efforts to begin the financial and commercial regen- 
eration of his country by opening up direct railway 
connection between the two republics was the rabbit- 
hearted, despairing epigram : " Between the weak and 
the strong there must be a desert." And the great 

328 



FIGHTING FOR AN ENDURING MEXICO 

wilderness of arid land and cactus which separated Mex- 
ico from her natural markets in the north was maintained 
in all its savage impenetrability, while Mexican com- 
merce and industry, famished for the lack of capital and 
progressive methods, remained cut off from the vigor 
and enterprise of the United States. 

On his distant plantation Diaz watched Lerdo with 
sheathed sword. The call for his services at the capital 
became so loud that in 1874 he was nominated as a 
candidate for deputy in the Congress. In great alarm 
the governor of Vera Cruz notified Lerdo that he would 
not be responsible for the result of the election, as the 
general was so popular in his district that it would be 
impossible to defeat him by any methods. Realizing 
what the reentrance into politics of Diaz would mean to 
his administration, the President ordered the governor 
not to allow the election to take place. The governor 
tried by a trick to force the election so suddenly that the 
general's friends would not have time to get their votes 
in, but in spite of this Diaz was elected by a heavy 
majority. 

When Diaz arrived in the capital, he organized a 
powerful group in the Congress. Many times he ques- 
tioned the government and several times he defeated it in 
the Chamber. 

Finally, Lerdo attempted to save his administration 
by getting rid of the aggressive leader of the opposition. 
He had decided to perpetuate himself in power and saw 
that it was important to have Diaz out of the country 
during the next presidential campaign. The general was 
pitilessly exposing the weakness and poverty of his 
policies. 

The President sent a mutual friend to offer Diaz the 
post of Minister to Berlin. 

329 



DIAZ, MASTER OF MEXICO 

" I am not a" diplomat," answered Diaz, " nor do I 
presume to serve my country as a diplomat. As I un- 
derstand it, President Lerdo offers this honor to me as a 
favor. Tell him that I do not accept favors except from 
friends." 

Even the astute Lerdo had forgotten that the soldier 
whose strength had maintained the republic in its most 
desperate days could not be turned from his duty by a 
bribe. 

The country, still sunk in misery and poverty, drifted 
into disorders. In the beginning of 1875 General Rocha, 
the great soldier of the Juarez administration, attempted 
a rebellion against Lerdo, trying to draw with him the 
garrison of Mexico City which he had taken out of the 
capital for tactical exercises. His subaltern officers did 
not second him and he was arrested by the Minister of 
War personally and confined in the town of Celaya, from 
which he fled abroad. In Jalisco there was an armed 
conflict within the state, and General Ceballos had to 
assume political command of the state to reestablish 
order. 

Instead of opening up the resources of prosperity, 
Lerdo occupied himself in party politics. Bad conditions 
grew worse. Lerdo was denounced on all sides. Still 
the President schemed to succeed himself in office. He, 
like Juarez, relied upon the abstract force of laws. In- 
toxicated by the theory that the printing of democratic 
principles can save all peoples in all conditions and at all 
times, he overlooked the tremendous fact that political 
institutions are powerful only to the extent that they ex- 
press instincts and capacities of the people to whom they 
apply, and that government is an act, not a theory. 

As Lerdo was denounced on all sides, the leadership 
of Diaz grew more popular. In the press, in the Con- 

330 



FIGHTING FOR AN ENDURING MEXICO 

gress, in the clubs, there were constant demonstrations 
in his favor. The government attempted to arrest the 
movement, which was becoming national and daily in- 
creased in strength, but the political force behind Diaz 
became tidal in its character. 

There can be little doubt that at this time things were 
as bad, if not worse, than when Diaz renounced the 
government of Juarez four years before. Justice-was, 
prostituted everywhere to politics. The elections were a 
farce. The Constitution was ignored. Public instruc- 
tion was practically abandoned. The President was 
openly preparing to keep himself in power by all means, 
fair or foul. While he remained in office Mexico would 
remain isolated from the rest of the world, prostrate, 
hopeless. Such conditions meant a sure reversion to 
civil war. 

Suddenly, on January i, 1876, General Hernandez 
issued at the little town of Tuxtepec, in the northern 
part of the state of Oaxaca, a " plan," denouncing the 
Lerdo government for its corruptions and tyrannies, and 
proclaiming an armed revolution. With 2,000 men he 
marched to the city of Oaxaca, took charge of the gov- 
ernment of the state, and proclaimed General Diaz as 
Commander in Chief of the Army of Reorganization. 

The whole country was thrown into an uproar of 
excitement and the Plan of Tuxtepec was supported in 
many states. It was not a mere military revolution, for 
itsjeaders were forced to go about raising men to fight, 
i^exj^b was weary of stagnatioiLJtnd futile politics,_anjj 
was ready to break away^from her discordant, wasteful 
past. A little more bloodshed and that would be the last. 
With Oaxaca in the hands of General Hernandez, the 
revolution spread through Puebla, Vera Cruz, Guerrero, 
Nuevo Leon, Jalisco, and Yucatan. 

331 



DIAZ, MASTER OF MEXICO 

Even General Ignacio Mejia, the Minister of War, 
began to form a party in his own interest and the army 
began to be demoralized, but Lerdo removed him from 
command and put General Escobedo in his place. 

With the war cry ringing through the country, Diaz 
appeared suddenly in the North. On December 5, 1876, 
he had sailed from Vera Cruz in the company of General 
Gonzalez, once his enemy, now his devoted friend and 
follower. Making his way through the United States 
he reached the northern frontier of Mexico, and from 
the Texas side he organized the revolution in the north- 
ern states by letters and telegrams, with Brownsville as 
his headquarters. 

At the frantic request of Lerdo, the government of 
the United States ordered its commanding officer at 
Ringold Barracks, on the Rio Grande, to suppress any 
attempt at an armed invasion of Mexico from the Ameri- 
can side. This order was aimed at Diaz, who was get- 
ting ready to burst into his own country. 

The American officer promptly invited the Mexican 
commander on the other side of the river to come over 
and dine with him, so that he could explain his instruc- 
tions to suppress the Diaz expedition. But while they 
were at dinner they received news that Diaz had crossed 
the Rio Grande with a handful of Mexican volunteers 
and had captured a small town. Again his promptness 
and intelligent daring had saved his cause. The forty 
men with which he dashed over the frontier increased 
rapidly. 

At Palo Blanche, a farm near Matamoras, he added 
a constructive programme to the Plan of Tuxtepec, in 
which it was promised, among other things, that all state 
governments adhering to the plans of the revolution 
should be recognized; reasserting the Constitution of 

332 



FIGHTING FOR AN ENDURING MEXICO 

1857, tne Reform Act of 1873, and the December legis- 
lation of 1874; pledging the rigid maintenance of the 
legal rule prohibiting the reelection of presidents or 
governors; and providing for the election of a new na- 
tional government within two months after the taking 
of the capital by the revolutionary army. 

The contrast between the general denunciations in 
the Plan of Tuxtepec and this straightforward, terse, and 
definite amendment, which was entirely the work of 
Diaz's pen, shows the difference between him and most 
of the men associated in the revolt. His mind directed 
everything into practical channels and toward clearly 
defined, reasonable, and feasible ends. Not a word was 
wasted. 

Then the general sent a ranchman to the city of 
Matamoras to tell the commander of the government 
forces that he must promptly surrender. How Diaz un- 
derstood his impulsive countrymen! Hardly had the 
commander received the audacious message than, in a fit 
of wrath, he sent out his whole cavalry force to cut the 
revolutionists into pieces. 

Foreseeing this passionate answer, Diaz made a swift 
detour, and in the absence of the government cavalry 
took Matamoras from the infantry and artillery left 
behind, capturing 700 prisoners and many cannon. 

Just before starting the attack on Matamoras on 
April 2d, some of the general's officers reminded him that 
it was the anniversary of the storming of Puebla nine 
years before, and proposed a banquet in his honor. It 
was late in the evening when he heard of it. 

" If we are to have a feast, let it be in the city of 
Matamoras," he said ; and at midnight he gave the signal 
for the assault. 

A few weeks later Diaz moved from Matamoras with 

333 



DIAZ, MASTER OF MEXICO 

the intention of attacking the city of Saltillo. The dar- 
ing of the general may be judged by the fact that in 
attempting this bold operation he was accompanied by 
only 700 badly armed and inexperienced recruits. At 
Icamole he was attacked by General Fuero, at the head 
of more than 1,000 government troops, with artillery. 
At the beginning of the action Fuero advanced his skir- 
mish line too far, whereupon Diaz ordered General Nar- 
anjo's insurgent force, which was concealed behind a 
hill, to swing around suddenly, and Fuero's whole body 
of sharpshooters was captured. Thus it happened that, 
although Diaz had to retreat, he left the ground with 
prisoners. 

It has been said by the enemies of Diaz that after this 
disastrous fight he wept on the field. This was denied 
by those who accompanied him. Besides, it is utterly 
out of keeping with his character and with the iron cour- 
age he showed in the thrilling adventures which imme- 
diately followed it. 

Aroused by the swift movements of Diaz in the 
North, President Lerclo sent General Escobedo against 
him with a strong army. Having only 700 recruits with 
which to face the thousands of well-drilled and thor- 
oughly equipped troops advancing under General Esco- 
bedo, Diaz saw at once that his place was in the South, 
where his following was growing. Leaving General 
Gonzalez (afterwards President) and General Hinojoso 
(afterwards Minister of War) to attack and harass 
Escobedo's force, he hurried back to the United States 
and started for his native state, to lead his followers in a 
campaign against the national capital. 

The story of that eventful journey is one of the most 
exciting chapters in the life of the man whose adventures 
recall the heroes of legend. 

334 



CHAPTER XXIX 

HOW DIAZ WON THE PRESIDENCY 

DISGUISED with a wig and smoked glasses, and travel- 
ing as a Cuban physician returning to Havana, Diaz 
embarked at New York on the mail steamer City of 
Havana, which was to touch at Tampico and Vera Cruz 
on the way to Cuba. 

Thus masked, and carrying a case of surgical instru- 
ments to complete the deception, Mexico's great leader 
started back to take supreme command of the revolution. 

When the steamer reached Tampico, a detachment of 
government troops took passage for Vera Cruz. Among 
them were officers who had been captured by Diaz at 
Matamoras only a few weeks before. In spite of his 
careful disguise, the officers recognized the general, and 
his keen eyes at once told him that he was known to his 
enemies. 

To be taken as a prisoner meant almost certain death. 
Indeed, only a few weeks later, General Donate Guerra, 
his second in command, was captured and afterwards slain 
by the soldiers who were guarding him. Diaz understood 
the greatness of his peril. His country's life as well as 
his own depended on his personal courage and intelligence. 
He was being closely watched and there was death in the 
eyes of the soldiers who followed his movements. 

It was late in the afternoon and the steamer was an- 
chored far from the shore. In an hour it would be dark. 

335 



DIAZ, MASTER OF MEXICO 

Meantime he must avoid arrest, which might occur at 
any moment. Life or death was a matter of minutes. 
He must leap into the sea, take his chances with the 
man-eating sharks, and keep afloat till he could land under 
the cover of darkness. 

Arming himself with a knife of razorlike sharpness 
to defend himself against the sharks, and stripping him- 
self to his underclothes, the future master of Mexico went 
over the vessel's side and struck out for liberty. 

He had not swam more than two or three thousand 
feet before he knew that his flight had been discovered 
and that a boat had been lowered to catch him. Already 
he could hear the sound of the oars. 

It was a desperate man-hunt. The general was a 
powerful and skillful swimmer, and he drove himself 
through the water with steady strokes; but his pursuers 
gained on him. As they approached him he made for 
the open sea. Could he but escape them for a while the 
night might save him; and he put forth his utmost 
strength in the fearful race. Nearer and nearer they 
came. He could hear their voices. With mighty strokes 
he swam this way and that, in the hope of eluding them 
in the growing dusk. Still the boat followed his flight 
and crept closer. The oarsmen could hear him panting 
as he struggled through the waves for his life. 

So near did his pursuers come that they struck at him 
with their oars, and he dived again and again to avoid the 
savage blows. It was getting darker. A few minutes 
more and he might throw them off the track. Summon- 
ing all his power, he dived under the boat. As he came 
up on the other side, the rowers shrieked with excitement 
and struck at him again, only to find that he had once 
more dived under the boat and struck out in another di- 
rection, swimming in circles, diving, and turning back 

336 



HOW DIAZ WON THE PRESIDENCY 

on his track in a way that made it difficult to reach him 
in the fading light. 

For an hour the terrible chase was pressed. Diaz 
grew weaker. As his muscles gave out, his movements 
became slower. He gasped for breath. He grew dizzy 
with exhaustion and constant turning. His eyes pro- 
truded. Yet he twisted and darted this way and that in 
the water in a last furious attempt to escape. 

Suddenly the exhausted fugitive discovered that he 
had lost his way. The shore line at Tampico was too flat 
and low to be seen so far out by a man in the waves, but 
while daylight lasted Diaz knew that the bow of the 
steamer pointed toward the land. With nightfall he had 
lost this guide and had no way of telling the direction of 
the shore from the open sea. 

Caught in this trap, the general surrendered, and was 
pulled into the boat, where he lay helpless from fatigue 
and unable to speak. He had been in the sea for more 
than an hour. 

When the dripping prisoner staggered on board of the 
City of Havana, Lieutenant-Colonel Arroyo, in command 
of the government troops in the ship, insisted that Diaz 
should be turned over to him and court-martialed at once. 
The death of the general would perhaps end the revolu- 
tion against Lerdo and bring a rich reward to his execu- 
tioner. But the bloodthirsty Arroyo underestimated the 
character and resources of the man who only had been 
dragged out of the sea so tired that he could not stand. 
Reaching for a pistol in his stateroom, Diaz drew him- 
self to his full height, squared his shoulders, set his teeth, 
and with the old look of power in his great eyes, he called 
upon the captain of the steamer for the protection of the 
American flag under which he sailed. 

That sudden turn baffled Arroyo for the time. An 
337 



DIAZ, MASTER OF MEXICO 

American gunboat lay close by in the harbor, and its 
captain being called upon to prevent any violation of the 
American flag, offered to send Diaz back to the United 
States ; nevertheless, the general refused to turn back and 
insisted upon continuing his journey, although he knew 
that the next port would be Vera Cruz, where the govern- 
ment forces would be waiting to take him at all hazards. 

The destiny of Mexico trembled in the balance of 
war; Diaz must reach his forces without delay. Not a 
day could be lost. 

An attempt was made to disarm the general, but 
knowing the danger he was in, he announced that he 
would die rather than surrender his only means of de- 
fense. It was then agreed that he should be considered 
under guard, and the steamer proceeded on her way to 
Vera Cruz. 

That night when the ship was at sea, Diaz secretly 
appealed to the purser, A. K. Coney, to help him to get 
away from his enemies. He proposed to again attempt 
to swim to shore with the aid of a life preserver. 
Touched by the grit of the Mexican hero, the American 
agreed to assist him, but insisted that to intrust himself 
to the shark-infested waters so far from shore would 
amount to suicide. Another plan was adopted. 

It was a black night. A storm was about to break 
over the sea. Everybody on board was nervous, anxious, 
watchful. Slipping quietly into the purser's cabin at an 
opportune moment, Diaz shut himself in a small clothes- 
press. There was a sudden splash in the sea. The purser 
had thrown a life preserver overboard. The steamer rang 
with cries of the Mexican officers, who ran wildly along 
the deck, peering into the dark water in the hope of seeing 
the supposed fugitive. Arroyo was in a tremendous rage. 
He searched the vessel in vain. The victim had escaped. 

338 



HOW DIAZ WON THE PRESIDENCY 

All this time Diaz sat in the bottom of the clothes- 
press. The space was so narrow that he had to draw 
his knees up to his chin, and even then the door did not 
quite close. 

The purser knew that he had done a dangerous thing. 
To draw suspicion from himself he boldly invited the 
Mexican officers to play a game of cards in his cabin. 
As they sat around the table, the general, doubled up in 
the clothespress, scarcely dared to breathe. His position 
was extremely painful, and to make matters worse, one 
of the officers tilted his chair back against the door of the 
press, thus crushing it against the knees of the hidden 
soldier, who did not dare to move, although he was in 
great agony. 

During that almost intolerable ordeal Diaz heard the 
card players discuss his character with great freedom. He 
was bitterly denounced, but one or two spoke kindly of 
him. Purser Coney, anxious to avoid all distrust, loudly 
abused the man whom he had concealed in the room, ex- 
pressing the hope that he would be caught and punished, 
as he deserved to be. So vehement were the purser's at- 
tacks upon the man he was protecting, that only his great 
pain kept Diaz from laughing outright. 

For three days Diaz remained doubled up in the dark- 
ness, being fed with a few crackers from the good-hearted 
purser's pocket. Then the ship reached Vera Cruz. 

This was the climax of danger for Diaz. The Cap- 
tain of the Port, a strong partisan of President Lerdo, 
went on board the City of Havana with a guard, and 
insisted on searching the ship from one end to the other, 
in the hope of finding the victim. There was great ex- 
citement in the ship. The American captain protested 
against having his vessel searched by Mexican soldiers. 
The Captain of the Port, stirred by the hope of capturing 

339 



DIAZ, MASTER OF MEXICO 

such a distinguished prisoner as Diaz, announced that he 
would examine every inch of the vessel. Fortunately, 
there was an American gunboat in the harbor. The cap- 
tain of the City of Havana appealed for protection. 
Then the American naval commander went on board of 
the steamer. 

While the three captains were arguing the question 
on deck, a sailor found his way to Diaz's place of con- 
cealment and handed him a note written by the chief of 
the Vera Cruz customhouse, saying that his friends were 
ready to help him to liberty. 

At this Diaz followed the sailor to an open porthole. 
He had hurriedly put on the clothes of a sailor. Thrust- 
ing his head out of the opening in the side of the ship he 
saw below him a cotton lighter, into which he was ex- 
pected to drop. Turning his eyes upward he saw above 
him a row of faces looking down at him over the rail. 
With a start, he drew his head back. Thereupon the 
sailor whispered to him that the faces he had seen were 
those of his friends, who had, by a prearranged plan, 
crowded against the railing on deck so that his enemies 
should have no chance to look over. 

In another moment Diaz crawled through the port- 
hole and dropped into the lighter, creeping into the bow 
under the deck, where he stood up to his neck in water, 
while the loading of the lighter was finished and it was 
rowed to the shore. While the cotton was being removed 
at the dock, a government officer looked sharply into the 
dim bow of the vessel. " What's that? " he cried. Diaz 
shrank back, half-drowned, to escape detection. A false 
move and he would be lost. Just at that moment one of 
Diaz's alert friends leaped into the lighter, saw his 
leader's face in the uncertain light, and answered, 
" There's nothing here, senor." 

340 



HOW DIAZ WON THE PRESIDENCY 

The crew of the boat pretended to quarrel as to 
whether they would make another trip to the ship. Fi- 
nally, they rowed out of the harbor of Vera Cruz and 
made their way down the coast to a point agreed upon. 
Here the general landed and found a manservant with 
two horses waiting on the beach for him. 

Leaping into the saddle, Diaz rode with his compan- 
ion at full speed to get in touch with his forces. That 
evening he reached the stream known as the Boca del Rio. 
On the road he stopped at a peon's house to get informa- 
tion, when a body of government soldiers passed. This 
so frightened his attendant that he deserted. Notwith- 
standing this, the general was able to avoid recognition 
by the commander of the troops, and finding a boat at the 
river, he rowed himself over. He was now without a 
horse, but he took the road on foot. Presently he met a 
mounted man, who turned out to be a friend, and who 
gladly gave up his horse. 

Thus, day and night, the leader of the revolution, 
dressed in a ragged sailor's suit, and with a pistol stuck 
in his belt, rode straight for his beloved Indian followers 
of Ixtlan, in the Zapotec mountains of Oaxaca, where as 
a stripling subprefect he had learned to make soldiers and 
heroes out of shambling, cowardly peasants. 

As the leader drew near Ixtlan, tired and covered 
with dust, he saw figures moving down the rough moun- 
tain trails toward him. They were the Indian horsemen 
of his old villages, and as they caught sight of the strong, 
erect figure which they knew so well, in spite of the sailor's 
cap and strange blue clothes, they waved their sabers at 
him, and he rose in his saddle and greeted them afar with 
uplifted hand. 

The dusky cavalrymen were followed by groups of 
Indians on foot, with rifles and wildly beaten drums. 

34i 



DIAZ, MASTER OF MEXICO 

Down the road, they poured, shouting his name. When 
he dismounted they swarmed --about him, kissing his hand 
and calling him padrino (godfather)^ As the multitude 
pressed around him and the blanketed villagers joined 
the armed men in a wonderful procession of bright colors, 
roaring drums, flashing steel, prancing horses, and bab- 
bling voices, Diaz "remembered that in his earlier days he 
had regularly paid the baptism fees for the children .oi 
the Indians, and that in the cr-owds which came to kiss 
his hand now were his godchildren's grown up. 

Riding up the trails, he found the mountaineers ad- 
vancing in troops to meet him, and the hillsides reverber- 
ated with the sound of their drums as they marched be- 
fore and behind him, while the general population, 
picturesque beyond words to describe, filled the air with 
its shouting. 

In the village of Ixtlan Diaz dismounted and made a 
speech to the multitude. The Indians assembled in the 
plazas and plazuelas with rifles and drums. Dozens of 
the Zapotec villages poured armed men into Ixtlan. The 
general went from one band to the other, addressing them 
and stirring up their fighting spirit, as in the days when 
he proved to them that a Zapotec mountaineer could be a 
good soldier. In those ranks were men he had first called 
from blanketed sloth to serve their country in arms ; men 
whom he had taught to read and write; men whom he 
had led for years in battle ; men for whose children he had 
stood sponsor in the church and as he stood before 
them, paled and thinned by hardship, but with the old 
look of command in his strong face, they lifted their heads 
high and their eyes shone with pride. There among the 
wretched cabins of a remote mountain village, he invoked 
the soul of Mexico to war for the sake of peace. 

Three battalions were immediately organized in Ixt- 
342 



HOW DIAZ WON THE PRESIDENCY 

Ian, and with them Diaz marched down into the valley of 
Oaxaca to his native city, which promptly surrendered to 
him. The governor of the state was friendly to him, 
but being in the power of Lerdo, had been compelled to 
obey the national government. 

Once in possession of Oaxaca the general organized 
his forces rapidly. The spirit of the revolution grew. 
In August the revolutionists under General Guerra had 
been beaten at Tamiapa, whereupon Guerra had retreated 
to Chihuahua, where he was captured and slain. 

But in September a packed Congress declared that 
Lerdo had been reflected President. This election was 
notoriously corrupt and illegal. It was a direct chal- 
lenge to the courage and self-respect of the country. In 
his greed to retain power, the President had forced him- 
self into office against the will of the people and had 
trampled the electoral laws under his feet. 

So gross were the frauds that even his Chief Justice 
of the Supreme Court, Jose Maria Iglesias, publicly de- 
nounced the election as illegal, disowned Lerdo's author- 
ity, and, declaring that he, himself, had succeeded to the 
presidency under the Constitution, retired to Guanajuato, 
where Governor Antillon, with 2,500 soldiers, supported 
him as President ad interim. 

Diaz pushed northward with his troops, organizing 
as he marched. The Lerdo government sent out General 
Alatorre with an immense force tb crush the revolution 
at a single blow. When the two armies met at Tecoac, 
in the state of Tlaxcala, on November 16, 1876, it was 
recognized by the generals on both sides that the battle 
would be decisive. The government forces greatly out- 
numbered the revolutionists, and Lerdo boasted in the 
capital that in a few hours Diaz would be a prisoner or a 
fugitive. 

23 343 



DIAZ, MASTER OF MEXICO 

In the battle'of Tecoac, Alatorre's troops fought stub- 
bornly until they were demoralized by a terrific charge led 
by Diaz in person. Before they could recover from the 
effects of this onslaught, reinforcements under General 
Gonzalez reached Diaz, and the Lerdo army was routed. 
Diaz captured more than 3,000 prisoners. 

After this complete victory, Diaz made a triumphal 
march to the city of Puebla, which was surrendered to 
him without a blow, and as he rode through the streets he 
was greeted as the deliverer of the nation from confusion, 
weakness, and corruption. 

Four days after the decisive fight at Tecoac, President 
Lerdo fled with his ministers from the capital. He took 
ship at Acapulco and went to New York, where he lived 
until his death on April 21, 1889, when in spite of his 
revolutionary plots to regain power, President Diaz at- 
tended his funeral. 

With 1 2, ooo^ soldiers, the hero of the revolution made 
his formal entry into the City of Mexico on November 
23, 1876. 

It was a thrilling scene. The great crowds which 
lined the roads and streets shrieked the victor's name 
continually. Some threw themselves on the ground; 
some wept with excitement. Not only did the humbler 
part of the populace greet him, but grave business men, 
financiers, landowners, stood uncovered among the shout- 
ing Indians as Diaz rode to the national palace at the 
head of his army. In the vast plaza of the Zocolo, on 
which both the Cathedral and the national palace front, a 
mighty multitude was gathered, and the sound of voices 
was like the beating of the sea on a hollow shore. 

Dressed in his general's uniform, Diaz passed before 
the roaring crowds, erect, grave, looking straight ahead, 
as if he saw a great vista opening before him not as the 

344 



HOW DIAZ WON THE PRESIDENCY 

winner of a prize, but as one who solemnly assumed a 
responsibility whose weight had crushed two generations 
of his countrymen. 

On entering the national palace he took possession of 
the supreme executive power of the nation. Leaving 
General Juan N. Mendez in command of the capital, he 
moved rapidly to Guanajuato, where Iglesias was at- 
tempting to carry on a national government. Iglesias 
tried to make terms of compromise with Diaz, but his 
proposals were rejected. He retreated to Guadalajara, 
where General Ceballos had a strong division, and then 
made his way to Manzanillo, thence to Mazatlan, and 
embarking there, fled by sea to San Francisco. 

Being victorious throughout the republic, the general 
provided for a Constitutional government by ordering a 
general election, and in May, 1877, the new Congress 
canvassed the votes and declared that Diaz had been 
elected President. 

Thus the barefoot son of the humble Oaxaca inn- 
keeper, now a man of forty-six years, entered upon the 
work of turning Mexico from her delirious, destructive, 
and miserable past. 



CHAPTER XXX 



THE SOLDIER BECOMES A NATION'S MASTER 



THERE is nothing more dramatic in the life of Diaz 
than his swift grapple with highway robbery. Not as 
President, but as commander of the military forces, he 
decreed" sudden death to bandits wherever they were 
caught. The whole power of the nation was concentrated 
behind this stern order. Hundreds of bandits were shot 
down on the roads of Mexico within two or three weeks 
after he assumed power. It was not police work, but 
war. No rights-of-man theories or legal technicalities 
were permitted to interfere with this w r ork of extermi- 
nating the armed enemies of society. 

Yet among those who preyed upon travelers and ter- 
rorized towns and villages were men who had served the 
republic as soldiers and had been turned out of their 
uniforms without means of livelihood. Accustomed to 
forage for existence in time of war, they continued their 
spoliation in time of peace. Nothing dulls the moral 
sense or brutalizes the character more rapidly than guer- 
rilla warfare, in which righting and plundering are almost 
inseparable. 

It is not surprising, therefore, that some of the bravesO 
soldiers of Mexico had become bandits. Indeed, many 
of the men who had followed Diaz in his most desperate 
struggles for Mexican independence were now brought 

346 



THE SOLDIER BECOMES MASTER 

face to face with instant death, for his order made no 
distinction between friend or foe, patriot or traitor. 

His clear mind saw that it would be a mockery of 
government to talk about individual rights and Consti- 
tutional forms of justice while armed robbers held the 
highways of the nation, and he slew the outlaws without 
pity wherever they were found, until an unspeakable 
terror of the new government spread to the remotest 
mountain strongholds of crime. 

At the same time he caused it to be known that all 
bandits who were ready to give up their criminal life 
might find safety and employment by surrendering 
promptly to the government. 

It was known that the word of Diaz could always be 
trusted, and as in former days the merchants of Mexico 
loaned vast sums on his bare word, although they refused 
to advance a dollar on the government's credit, so now 
the bandits poured in from the mountains and the roads, 
gave up their arms, and relied for their lives on the honor 
of the man who had opened a way back to honest society 
for them. 

With a shrewdness born of long experience and a 
deep knowledge of human nature, Diaz created a national 
mounted rural police out of these men and gave them a 
chance to redeem their names by hunting down the incor- 
rigible bandits. 

They came to him in all manner of dress, bold, strong 
men, with fierce eyes, and faces tanned by the sun and 
hideous with scars. With trembling tongues, sometimes 
with tears they told the master of Mexico how they had 
been driven to brigandage because they could find no 
other occupation. 

He talked to them one by one, looked them straight 
in the eyes, explained that a new day of law and order 

347 



DIAZ, MASTER OF MEXICO 

had dawned in Mexico, and in a few direct words con- 
vinced them that, quite aside from the bloody death that 
awaited all bandits in the future, they would earn a bet- 
ter living by serving the nation as good citizens. 

One day a famous bandit chief appeared in the na- 
tional palace, deep-chested, wide-shouldered, a mighty 
hulk of a man, with formidable eyes, and skin tanned 
almost black by the sun. For many days he had been 
hunted. No robber in the country was more feared. 
This man had once been a gallant officer in the service 
of the republic. Diaz knew him at once as one of his 
most loyal and heroic fighters. The bandit leader ac- 
knowledged that he had been leading a wicked life, but 
protested that he had been gradually led into it by the 
conditions of the country and the necessities pressing 
upon him at a time when neither he nor his followers 
could find employment. Reminding Diaz of how he had 
fought for the country under his command, his rough, 
hard countenance broke with emotion as he begged for 
a chance to win back his good name and take his proper 
place in Mexico. The great robber was at once appointed 
chief of the new national police, ai\d no man served the 
country with more bravery, honesty, or Devotion. 

This was the origin of the celebrated Rurales, one 
of the finest bodies of constabulary in the world, com- 
parable only to the Royal Irish Constabulary, the Cana- 
dian Mounted Police, the Italian Carabinieri, and the 
Guarda Civil of Spain yet with a character of its own. 
The promoters of disorder and crime became the guard- 
ians and guarantors of peace and order. 

" We began by punishing robbery with death and 
requiring the execution of culprits within a few hours 
after they were caught and condemned," says President 
Diaz. " It had been the habit to cut the telegraph lines. 

348 



THE SOLDIER BECOMES MASTER 

We ordered that when the wires were cut, and the chief 
officer of that district failed to catch the criminal, he 
should himself suffer ; and should the cutting occur on a 
plantation, the proprietor who failed to prevent it must 
be hanged to the telegraph pole nearest to the point 
where the wire was severed. These, of course, were 
military orders. 

" It is true that we were harsh. Often we were harsh 
to the point of great cruelty. Yet it was necessary then 
to the life and progress of the nation. The results have 
justified it. It was right that a little blood should be 
shed, so that much blood should be saved. The blood 
we shed was bad blood; the blood we saved was good 
blood. 

" Mexico needed peace, even an enforced peace, that 
the nation might have time to think and work. The 
army began the task; education and industry carried 



The soldier had become a statesman. Within a few 
weeks the bandits of Mexico had vanished, never to re- 
appear, and the roads of the republic were safe. Diaz 
had acted on the old Japanese military precept : " When 
you have an enemy in your power, never completely sur- 
round him." Not only had he exterminated the most 
powerful criminals in the country and made travelers 
secure, but he had drawn thousands of brave but mis- 
guided Mexicans back into the fold of society. 

The immensity of this feat can hardly be understood 
in these days of Mexican orderliness and progress. For 
many years the robbers had been so bold that they seized 
villages and forced loans from them, sometimes burning 
the public buildings and occasionally carrying off the 
officials and holding them for ransom. In 1872 bandits 
carried off a schoolmaster of the village of Santa Maria, 
in the district of Otumba, sold him to other bandits for 

349 



DIAZ, MASTER OF MEXICO 

$100, who, in turn, sold him again for $200, and pres- 
ently he was sold a third time for $300 to a band who 
demanded a ransom of $500. After a terrible fight with 
a robber who was guarding him, the schoolmaster 
escaped with nineteen wounds. 

So amazing was the power of the bandits that Sefior 
Escandon, who was building the Vera Cruz railway, paid 
$500 to a band of armed thieves to escort him to the sea- 
coast. This was not an uncommon custom. He arrived 
safely, but on the way back the band robbed two parties 
of travelers. 

The stage coach running between the capital and 
Puebla was sometimes robbed four times on a single 
journey, and the fourth band, finding nothing else to 
take, would strip the passengers naked, not even sparing 
women. This happened so many times that women often 
carried newspapers with them in the coach, in order to 
cover their bodies when their clothes were gone. 

It is a literal fact that when the Puebla coach was 
due in Mexico City, porters were stationed in the court- 
yard of the Hotel Iturbide with blankets to throw over 
the female passengers as they emerged, and the male 
guests were requested to withdraw out of sight in order 
not to embarrass the unhappy travelers. 

When Marshal Bazaine was in command of the cap- 
ital he filled the Puebla coach one morning with Zouaves 
dressed in women's bonnets and gay crinoline skirts. 
Each soldier had a pair of pistols. The coach had not 
gone more than four blocks through the main street of 
Mexico City when it was surrounded by bandits. With- 
in a minute the pavement was strewn with dead and dy- 
ing robbers as the supposed women leaped forth and 
opened fire. 

If that could happen in the capital itself, in the midst 
350 



THE SOLDIER BECOMES MASTER 

of a veteran French army, what must have been the con- 
ditions on the roads and in the remote villages before 
Diaz swept brigandage out of his country in one sudden, 
short campaign? All the talking of blatant politicians, 
the grandiose oratory of congresses, or the solemn but 
helpless formulas of laws, however wise or just, had 
failed to accomplish the remarkable results achieved in 
a few weeks by his straightforward strength, based on 
the idea that government is not theory, but action, and 
that order is an indispensable precedent to law. 

For more than thirty years President Diaz has been 
at the head of the Mexican republic, and during all that 
period, in good times and bad, that practical, effective 
thought has dominated his statesmanship and has made 
it possible to bring civic and social healing to Mexico. 

Shallow theorists, would-be revolutionists, disap- 
pointed place-hunters, and outright blackmailers have 
sought in vain to convince the outside world that the 
great President of Mexico is a brutal tyrant who has 
crushed his country under the weight of corruption, 
backed by a cruel and slavish soldiery. The answer to 
these stupid and malicious agitators is the steady rise of 
Mexico to the rank of a powerful and respected nation, 
the obvious pride with which all decent Mexicans pro- 
nounce the. name of Diaz, and the prosperity which his 
strength, energy, intelligence, and untiring devotion 
have brought to the nation. One has but to contrast the 
lawless chaos, the helplessness of the masses, the utter 
misery and degradation of life in Mexico when Diaz 
first became President, with the orderly, thriving country 
of to-day, to realize the criminal malice or ignorance 
which prompt briefless lawyers, threadbare adventurers, 
and sensational scribblers to second the futile activities 
of political plotters who have neither the influence to se- 

351 



DIAZ, MASTER OF MEXICO 

cure a powerful following nor the sense to understand 
that the day of Mexican revolutions belongs to the dis- 
tant, dismal past. 

Having restored order, Diaz bent himself to the 
mighty task of reviving the national credit. Nine weeks 
after he entered the capital at the head of his victorious 
army the time limit for a payment of $300,000 to the. 
United States expired. This was the first installment of 
an award of $4,000,000 in favor of the United States in 
the liquidation of international claims settled by a mixed 
commission. It was tremendously important that this 
first payment should be made. The whole world of 
finance was secretly watching. Diaz was not yet elected 
President of Mexico. He was a soldier fresh from the 
field, at the head of a country whipped up to a high 
degree of suspicion and hostility regarding foreign 
countries, and irritably sensitive on the question of 
foreign debts. Would he rise to the height of his re- 
sponsibilities? 

The nation was bankrupt. The public employees 
were unpaid. The army was clamoring for its arrears. 
It was a cruel time, and an embarrassing one, for the 
payment of $300,000 to a nation which had stripped 
Mexico of half her territory. It meant a bitter sacrifice 
to the new government to raise such a sum ; yet Diaz's 
unclouded mind saw that the prompt payment of this 
money, at all hazards, would be a signal to the world 
that Mexico was prepared to meet her sacred obligations 
on time and under any circumstances. Thousands of 
officials were compelled to go unsatisfied for their pay, 
but the $300,000 was punctually delivered to the United 
States. Within a few days that act of scrupulous hon- 
esty was made known in the money markets of the 
world and was instantly reflected in the rising price of 

352 



THE SOLDIER BECOMES MASTER 

Mexican securities. In reporting the matter to the new 
Congress, Diaz said : 

" The executive was determined at all risks on sav- 
ing the national honor, and, imposing the painful but 
necessary sacrifices upon the republic and its servants, 
has happily been able to escape the grave difficulty and 
to make the payment with exact punctuality. This sac- 
rifice will not be sterile. It should contribute to the good 
name of Mexico and lift up her credit abroad." 

That was a neXv note in Mexican finance, which rang 
clear in all countries, at least while Diaz had control of 
affairs. 

The new President, fulfilling one of the most serious 
promises of the revolution, presented an amendment to the 
national Constitution forbidding the reelection of the 
President and the governors of the states. Looking back 
through the long decades of Diaz's continuous power in 
Mexico, this Constitutional amendment might sound al- 
most farcical, at least hypocritical, to one unfamiliar with 
the subsequent national history. The truth is that it was 
a sincere effort to remove from Mexican politics one of 
the most prolific causes of war. 

Afterwards, when Diaz had shown that the nation 
could stand like a rock against the shocks of time and 
circumstance ; when he had made one nation of the divided 
Mexicans ; when his honest statesmanship had made the 
word of Mexico a golden word throughout the world; 
when commerce, industry, and education had begun to 
take hold on the people ; when hundreds of millions of 
dollars of foreign capital poured into the country, fertiliz- 
ing enterprise ; and when the love of peaceful labor was 
revived in the masses of the Mexican people then the 
nation abolished the law)that prevented a president from 

353 



DIAZ, MASTER OF MEXICO 

succeeding himself in office, in order that the splendid 
and peaceful development of Mexico should not be inter- 
rupted, and that the national leadership and direction 
should not again be thrown into the hazaVds of party 
politics, at least not until the influence of peace, industry, 
and education, and the conservative, consolidating ten- 
dency of accumulating wealth, together with a deepening 
appreciation of the responsibilities as well as the rights 
of popular government should make it possible for Mex- 
ico to change presidents without serious disaster. 

Public order having been restored, and the signal 
given for the revival of public credit, President_Diaz now 
gave proof of his broad and farsightedfstatesmanshrprjy 
his dealing with the American railway qiTeStton. 

During his first term of office two great railway lines 
through the United States had been completed up to the 
northern frontier of Mexico. It was proposed that these 
railways should be connected with the City of Mexico by 
lines to be constructed principally with American capital. 
Up to that time there was but one important railway in 
the republic, the short line connecting the capital with the 
port of Vera Cruz. The proposal to unite Mexico to the 
United States by two great railway systems the Mexican 
Central Railway and the National Railroad of Mexico 
was not only an economic question of the first magnitude, 
but it was also a perilous political question from which 
most Mexican statesmen shrank in doubt or fear. 

For many years the public mind of Mexico had been 
educated to regard the purpose and policy of the United 
States with distrust. It was a common thing for the 
popular political orator to beat his breast in public and 
defy the great monster of the North. Even President 
Juarez shared this feeling of doubt and hostility, and re- 
sented the well-meant efforts of the Washington govern- 

354 



THE SOLDIER BECOMES MASTER 

ment to aid his administration at the close of the War 
of Intervention. Both he and President Lerdo did their 
utmost to set the Mexican mind against the United States 
as a greedy, sordid neighbor ever alert for an opportunity 
to invade and spoil Mexico of her territory. It was this 
policy of timidity and despair that found utterance in 
President Lerdo's saying : " Between the weak and strong 
there should be a desert." 

The immense energy and practical intelligence of the 
United States were ready to burst into the famished fields 
of Mexican industry, agriculture, and commerce, carrying 
with them streams of wealth. The spirit of American 
enterprise had been newly stimulated and strengthened by 
the international success of the Centennial Exposition at 
Philadelphia. The eyes of the world were turned toward 
the Western hemisphere, whose political institutions were 
now firmly established. The unshakable strength of 
Diaz's administration, its scrupulous promptness in meet- 
ing its obligations, and its demonstrated ability to main- 
tain order and to protect property rights as well as per- 
sonal safety, drew attention to Mexico as a promising 
field for the investors and business pioneers of all 
countries. 

But heretofore it had been a country whose chief oc- 
cupations were politics and war. Bent on political in- 
dependence, and fearing the great progressive nations, 
Mexico had set up a cowardly hermit policy of isolation, 
and, almost like the Chinese and the Coreans, had cut her- 
self off from the energizing and fructifying influences of 
direct and continuous contact with her natural markets in 
the flourishing North, and sat withered by old prejudices 
and passions. 

Already Diaz had shown to the world that a new 
Mexico had come into existence. He had bravely met 

355 



DIAZ, MASTER OF MEXICO 

the issues of public order and public credit. But would 
the iron soldier have the moral courage and largeness of 
vision to risk a conflict with the fierce and unreasoning 
bigotry of his countrymen by throwing the republic open 
to international commerce through direct railway com- 
munication with the United States? The influence of 
the President over all branches of the government was so 
great that the matter depended on his individual judgment 
and will. 

This question, upon which the future of the republic 
hung, was decided at a Cabinet meeting. The ministers 
were divided in opinion. The President listened in si- 
lence to the arguments of both sides. At the close of the 
debate he made his memorable decision in substantially 
these words: 

" It may be true that in opening up Mexico to direct 
railway communication with the United States, we are 
putting ourselves in danger that we are providing an 
entrance to a power which some day will attempt to ab- 
sorb our territory. I do not share this fear. Neverthe- 
less, if such a danger exists, we are more likely to bring 
on the conflict immediately by denying a natural and 
necessary outlet to the legitimate private enterprise of 
that country and declaring in effect that we look upon 
the United States as an enemy. By consenting to the new 
international railways we not only say to the people of 
the United States that we do not fear direct and close 
association with them, and that we desire and expect their 
friendship, but we will bring capital and skilled energy 
into Mexico and rapidly develop our resources; so that, 
by such a policy, we can at least put off any danger of 
territorial spoliation until we are strong enough to meet 
and resist it." 

That note of high, wise, and peaceful leadership was 
heard and answered throughout the world of enterprise. 

356 



THE SOLDIER BECOMES MASTER 

It was the beginning of the great era of railway building 
that has transformed Mexico and made possible her won- 
derful development. 

When President Diaz took possession pf the national 
government in 1,876, Mexico had only 407 miles of rail- 
ways to serve a total territory of moreuian 767,000 
square miles. Not only did he consent to the interna- 
tional railways, but he put forth all his strength and in- 
telligence to stimulate railway building in all parts of 
the country. To-day there are more than 15,000 miles 
of railways in Mexico, and the capital invested in the 
country by citizens of the United States alone aggre- 
gates, in Mexican currency, about $2,000,000,000. 



CHAPTER XXXI 

ORDER WAITS ON STRENGTH, LAW ON ORDER 

IT is an old saying that one finds most sticks and 
stones under the tree on which the best apples grow. 
This is true of men as well as trees. History offers no 
example of a great or good man who has not been a 
target for envy and malice. 

One of the most persistent slanders whispered about 
by the enemies of President Diaz is that in 1879 he 
ordered a cold-blooded massacre of his opponents at 
Vera Cruz. This tale has been repeated for many years 
with a hideous elaboration of details. Every time a 
handful of adventurers falls into the old delirium of 
revolutionary dreaming forgetful that Mexico is now 
a powerful and united nation the story of Vera Cruz 
starts afresh, with ghastly suggestions of a guilty despot 
decreeing the murder of innocent men out of a sheer lust 
of blood. 

The plain truth of this matter, which will be set forth 
here, shows that the Vera Cruz legend has no more 
foundation than other attacks upon President Diaz and 
his government which have recently been made by igno- 
rant and sensational writers, serving, perhaps uncon- 
sciously, the sinister purposes of fanatics, disappointed 
office seekers, contract promoters, blackmailers hoping 
to have their silence purchased and revolutionaries 

358 



ORDER WAITS ON STRENGTH 

whose activities have failed to extend beyond the limits 
of local riots. 

While President Diaz, in his first term of office, was 
laying wide and deep the foundations of Mexican peace 
and progress, seeking to turn the minds of the people 
into ways of industry and to establish a balance between 
the income and the expenditures of the nation, Sebastian 
Lerdo de Tejada, whom he had driven out of power, 
remained in New York, and attempted from that dis- 
tance to accomplish another revolution. The brilliant 
lawyer and politician could not realize the fact that 
with the rise of Porfirio Diaz to supreme power the 
revolutionary period of Mexican history had come to 
an end. 

In furtherance of Lerdo's conspiracy, General Esco- 
bedo invaded Mexico from Texas, sending armed expe- 
ditions into the states of Nuevo Leon, Coahuila, and 
Tamaulipas. This insurrection was suppressed. In rec- 
ognition of Escobedo's past services to the country, how- 
ever, President Diaz magnanimously pardoned him. 

General Diego Alvarez^ in the South, refused to work I 
with the national administration, and threatened an up- 
rising, but his opposition was peacefully overcome by 
the President's persuasive reasonings 

In 1879 General Negrete issued an address to the 
country calling on the partisans of Lerdo to rise in arms. 
From his hiding place in the City of Mexico, Negrete 
continued for some time to send out fiery letters invok- 
ing the spirit of war. His appeals were ignored. 

President Diaz watched these signs of the old revolu- 
tionary spirit with keen eyes and stern face. He knew 
that another serious civil war would throw Mexico back 
into chaos, bankrupt and discredited, and perhaps pre- 
pare the way for the loss of Mexican independence. The 
24 359 



DIAZ, MASTER OF MEXICO 

whole destiny of" the nation now depended upon his vigi- 
lance and strength. 

Just then General Fuero, one of Lerdo's bravest con- 
spirators, arrived in Vera Cruz from the presence of his 
leader in New York. Fuero was promptly arrested by 
General Luis Teran, the military commandant of Vera 
Cruz, a veteran companion-in-arms of Diaz, and one of 
his most fanatic followers. General Teran seemed to 
have a general idea that every opponent of the President 
deserved death. He was a nervous, excitable man, of 
great courage but rash judgment. Having discovered 
what he considered compromising evidence against Fuero, 
the military commandant was for executing his prisoner 
at once. There was no personal reason why President 
Diaz should wish to spare Fuero, who had defeated his 
small force in the battle of Icamole. Yet as soon as he 
heard of his enemy's grave peril, he caused Don Pablo 
Macedo, then Subsecretary of the Interior, to be sent to 
Teran, with orders that the prisoner should be preserved 
unhurt, and that his case should be impartially investi- 
gated by the ordinary court. Teran violently declared 
that he would not consent to the escape of such a traitor, 
but Macedo repeated the President's orders with such 
sternness that the commandant surrendered. Presently 
the court discharged Fuero for lack of convincing evi- 
dence. Thus President Diaz saved the life of the man 
who had defeated him in the field in the supreme crisis 
of his life. 

The last attempt of Lerdo's supporters to launch the 
country into another period of revolution was in June, 
1879. In that month the crew of the military dispatch 
ship Liber tad, which was at the port of Alvarado, about 
thirty miles from Vera Cruz, rebelled against the govern- 
ment, and started with their vessel for Vera Cruz. It 

360 



ORDER WAITS ON STRENGTH 

was also reported that the crew of another armed ship, 
the Independencia, had mutinied. 

As this startling news reached President Diaz, he 
was secretly informed by two artillery officers that there 
was a plot in the garrison of Vera Cruz to rise in revolt 
as soon as the rebellious ships should appear in the har- 
bor. Not an hour, not a minute, could be lost. The 
peace of the country depended on swift, sure, stern ac- 
tion. Already General Teran had warned the President 
of a revolutionary plot against the government. 

Then came the following telegram from Teran : 

"Hay militares complicados en la conspiracies. Si 
se levantan los jusile? " ("There are soldiers compli- 
cated in the conspiracy. If they rise, shall I shoot 
them?") 

There was no time for debate. The lives of thou- 
sands might be sacrificed by an instant's delay, for at 
that very moment Diaz had been informed that the mu- 
tinous Liber tad was entering the harbor of Vera Cruz, 
the prearranged signal for the rising of the garrison; 
and there could be but one answer to a revolt among 
regular troops. 

The President answered Teran's question by tele- 
graphing three words : 

" En caliente, si." (" If in the heat of action, yes.") 

These two telegrams have been obtained from the 
official archives of that time and tell the whole story of 
Diaz's connection with the matter. 

It will be seen that the President authorized Teran 
to shoot soldiers, and only "if in heat," that is, in the 
very act of rebellion. The most ingenious mind cannot 

361 



DIAZ, MASTER OF. MEXICO 

twist out of those three words, taken in connection with 
the message to which they were a reply, the slightest 
authority to execute civilians, with or without trial. 

In a tremendous passion, General Teran had nine 
men summarily shot. Several of them were civilians. 
President Diaz removed the commandant from his post 
and had him court-martialed. The court found him 
guilty of exceeding his authority, and he confessed his 
offense, pleading in his defense his anxiety to save the 
nation from civil war. Thereupon, in view of Teran's 
manifest mental condition, and in consideration of his 
past services to the country on the battlefield, the court 
suspended all other penalties but the loss of his post. 
Soon afterwards Teran was confined in an asylum for 
the insane, where he died three years later, a raving 
lunatic. 

This is the true and incontrovertible story of the 
famous " Vera Cruz massacre." It may be added that 
the families of the persons executed by Teran are to-day 
among the most devoted supporters of President Diaz. 

The truth is, that while the President promptly and 
sometimes bloodily suppressed every effort of Lerdo and 
his friends to revive armed insurrection as an element 
in Mexican politics, he pursued a farsighted policy of 
compromise and conciliation. Even when Iglesias, who 
had attempted to seize the presidency, returned to the 
capital, he was allowed to live unmolested. 

Another rebellion was attempted by Marquez de Leon, 
in Lower California, and General Ramirez Terron, in 
Sinaloa, but it was suppressed. Then things settled down 
into a prolonged peace. The maddest military adven- 
turer began to understand that under the administration 
of President Diaz the government of Mexico could not 
be changed by revolution. To further secure peace, 

362 



ORDER WAITS ON STRENGTH 

the President afterwards confirmed British authority in 
Belize, or British Honduras, exacting from Great Britain 
an agreement to prevent the smuggling of arms across 
the frontier to the rebellious and marauding Maya In- 
dians of the Yucatan peninsula. 

Notwithstanding the appalling condition of the coun- 
try when Diaz assumed national power, both the internal ' 
and external affairs of Mexico rapidly prospered, and 
the most jumbled situations fell into order under his 
strong, intelligent leadership. In the first^ year of his 
?1 Administration the total income pf the" government was 
$18,087,774, which included the amount left over from 
the previous year. In the following year the funds in 
the national treasury had increased to $20,477,780, Jhe 
greatest showing since the republic was restored in 1867. 
This fine result was produced without extraordinary 
taxes or unusual methods. Commerce increased by leaps 
and bounds. 

Although the President performed prodigies in 
straightening out the public debt, economizing the pub- 
lic expenditures and making ready for the revival of 
industry in the country, his eyes were ever fixed on 
peace, prolonged, general, unbroken peace a peace born 
of constructive and persuasive statesmanship, backed by 
strength, but to be maintained by force alone, when nec- 
essary as the indispensable preliminary and accompani- 
ment of national regeneration. 

As the central idea of the " Plan of Tuxtepec," under 
which Diaz led his successful revolution against Lerdo, 
was the prohibition of the reelection of presidents, and 
as Diaz himself had caused that solemn promise to be 
incorporated in the fundamental law of the nation, there 
were signs of general uneasiness and anxiety as the 
President's first term of office drew toward a close. 

363 



DIAZ, MASTER OF MEXICO 

Ignorant or 'malicious critics of modern Mexico are 
fond of contrasting this attitude of Diaz, in his early 
days of power, with his continuous occupation of the 
presidency for almost a generation. The unbroken tran- 
quillity and progress of the country and the unification 
of society, where before was strife, weakness, and ha- 
tred, is at once the explanation and justification of his 
course. Government cannot be reduced to the change- 
less limitations of an abstract creed. It must be judged 
by consequences. 

There were many able men in Mexico who believed 
in 1880 that it would be a crime against the country for 
Diaz to retire from power and run the risk of a national 
reversion to civil war. The President recognized the 
force of their arguments. He saw that the life of the 
scarcely conscious nation might be exposed to over- 
whelming perils in the shifting exigencies of politics, 
when once his strong hand was removed from control. 
But he felt bound to obey the law which forbade the 
election of a president to succeed himself. He himself 
had proposed that law in the interests of peace. In spite 
of all pressure to remain in power, his sense of honor 
and his patriotic loyalty to the cause for which he had 
overturned Lerdo's government, compelled him to an- 
nounce that a new r president must be elected to succeed 
him. Nay, in his last message to the Congress before he 
withdrew from the national palace, without consulting 
his Cabinet, he added a sentence to that memorable docu- 
ment, declaring that he would never again accept the 
office of president. When the ministers saw what he 
had written they strongly protested and asked him to 
withdraw it; but he insisted upon his own way, and the 
message stood as he wrote it. The appeal of subsequent 
events and the sight of his country trembling on the edge 

364 



ORDER WAITS ON STRENGTH 

of an abyss of unhappiness and shame afterwards per- 
suaded him to change his mind and surrender to the 
logic of Mexican history. But in 1880 he insisted upon 
retiring at the end of his official term, thus satisfying 
the terms of the Constitution and the spirit of the revo- 
lution that carried him into national leadership and 
authority. 

In this crisis he gave his whole support to General 
Manuel Gonzalez as his successor. This brave soldier 
proved to be a bungling and corrupt administrator, under 
whose very eyes the government was plundered and dis- 
graced. 

Yet, when Diaz withdrew from the presidency, the 
immediate need of Mexico was peace, above all things. 
Even honesty in administration was less important than 
strength to hold the young republic together. Without 
that, all other things were vain. General Gonzalez was 
a man of heroic and rugged force. That very year he 
had conquered and pacified the Indian rebels of Tepic, 
who had raided the country ever since their great bandit 
chief, Lozada, was slain; and he had brought the insur- 
rection of General Terron to an end. He was personally 
loyal to Diaz, who had every reason to believe that he 
would be vigilant and honest. However, in throwing 
his influence in favor of Gonzalez, the main thing in 
Diaz's mind was not so much that he would prove to be 
a statesman as that his skill and courage as a soldier 
would be sufficient to prevent the old war spirit from 
wrecking the republic before the national consciousness 
was fully awakened and the influences of industry, com- 
merce, and education had time to produce unity of effort 
and purpose and the love of peace-ftrHabor> which is the 
most effective discourager of war. 

Thus, with the indorsement of President Diaz, Gen- 

365 



DIAZ, MASTER OF MEXICO 

eral Gonzalez was elected President for the ordinary 
term of four years, and took office on December i, 1880. 

In an address to the nation, explaining the work of 
his administration, Diaz declared that without peace, 
secured at any cost, the ruin of the republic would be 
certain, and he promised to give his full support to 
Gonzalez. 

"If before I die," he said in this farewell utterance, 
" morality is rooted in our society and in the public ad- 
ministration ; if the poor man finds in his country bread 
and instruction, and if the rich man finds sufficient con- 
fidence to invest his capital in national enterprises; if 
from one end of the republic to the other the locomotive, 
with its robust voice, awakens and stirs all Mexicans 
into movement such a beautiful spectacle will satisfy 
my desires; and if it is not given to me to see this, even 
after many years, I shall carry with me the hope that 
my children, as well as yours, will enjoy for a longer 
time that period of happiness in the preparation of wh;ch 
the author of their being has played a small part." 

Having withdrawn from the presidency in obedience 
to the Constitution, Diaz gave an open sign that his 
sword was ready to support his successor by serving 
from December i, 1880, to November 30, 1881, in the 
Gonzalez cabinet as Secretary of the Department of 
Fomento (promotion of public works, agriculture, min- 
ing, colonization, etc.). The master of Mexico, who 
had started up systems of railways and telegraphs all 
over the country; had made it possible to pay publftj 
officials and employees on time; had improved condi- 
tions so that the exports of Mexico increased in two years 
from $24,000,000 to $32,000,000; and had, in less than 
four years, raised his country in the eyes of the world 
by meeting every debt punctually, and by enforcing tran- 

366 " 



ORDER WAITS ON STRENGTH 

quillity and order, now worked cheerfully in the Cabinet 
of his successor. 

While serving in the Cabinet of President Gonzalez, 
Diaz initiated the work which converted the harbor of 
Tampico into a modern commercial port", and put his 
intelligence and energy into several other practical im- 
provements. But presently he became aware th^at some 
of his colleagues were envious of his power, and he 
resigned his post. 

Thereupon the people of his native state promptly 
elected him governor of Oaxaca. At the same time he 
was elected to the national Senate. Naturally he chose 
the executive rather than the legislative service. 

As governor of Oaxaca, Diaz completely reformed 
the affairs of the state. He reopened schpols that had 
been closed, and established hundreds of new schools. 
His interest in education seemed to go hand in hand 
with his interest in commerce, industry, and agriculture. 
The malevolent agitators who have sought to create the 
impression that this great nation-maker is a mere mili- 
tary leader, holding office in the midst of an unwilling 
people by armed force, ignore or suppress the evidence 
of his constant and fruitful service in creating and en- 
couraging the means of peaceful development. It will 
not be forgotten that even while his army was besieging 
Maximilian's forces in the capital, Diaz used his military 
funds to continue the preparatory work for the drainage 
of the Valley of Mexico. So, too, when "he escaped from 
his convent prison in Puebla and stormed the city of 
Oaxaca, even while he was organizing his army to sweep 
the invaders from his country, he showed the ultimate 
vision of his statesmanship by opening an important 
school for girls. 

During his four years as President, his whole thought 

367 



DIAZ, MASTER OF MEXICO 

was taken up with the means of avoiding war in the 
future. Now that he had retired from the national pal- 
ace, he showed the same spirit in governing Oaxaca. 
Its muddled finances were clarified, the extravagance of 
the administration was reformed, and the attention of 
leaders was drawn away from political intrigue to prac- 
tical public improvements. It was at that time that Diaz 
made a vigorous effort to promote the building of a 
railway across the Isthmus of Tehuantepec. His mind 
naturally went straight as an arrow to big and feasible 
public works. As a stripling military commandant he 
had done much to improve the sanitation and other ma- 
terial conditions of Tehuantepec; as governor of Oaxa- 
ca, which included Tehuantepec, he strove with all his 
strength to bring about the great interoceanic railway 
which afterwards, as President, he completed, with its 
two great modern ports, and opened to his country and 
the world. But his most distinguished services as gov- 
ernor of Oaxaca were in the direction of public edu- 
cation. 

After reorganizing the administration of his state, 
Diaz retired and went to live in the City of Mexico. 

In 1882 he met the beautiful daughter of Don Man- 
uel Romero Rubio. This distinguished lawyer had been 
the principal minister in the Cabinet of President Lerdo. 
He was therefore the natural leader of Diaz's political 
opponents. His daughter Carmen, a singularly beauti- 
ful, intelligent, and highly educated young lady she is 
to-day easily the most beloved and graceful figure in her 
country attracted the attention of the soldier-states- 
man, whose first wife had died in the national palace 
while he was President. He fell in love with the fair 
young daughter of his old political foe. Don Romero 
Rubio at first frowned upon the suit of the hero. A 

368 




C. B. Waile, Photo., Mexico. City. 



MADAME DIAZ. 



ORDER WAITS ON STRENGTH 

gulf of bitter memories yawned between the two men. 
However, Diaz had already inclined his divided coun- 
trymen toward a spirit of reconciliation. No reason- 
able man could long hold against him the grievances of 
the past, after he had labored so faithfully for years to 
insure a peaceful and harmonious present and future. 
His name now stood for tranquillity, unity, and prog- 
ress, as in the sorrowful past it had stood for uncom- 
promising war; and his strength was a guaranty against 
reaction, corruption, or revolution. 

In ffie end Diaz won and married the lovely girl, 
whose sweet and gentle influence has softened his life 
and adorned his great station in all the busy and eventful 
years that have followed. 

Even in that hour, Diaz gave another signal for rec- 
onciliation to the divided elements of Mexico when he 
consented to allow Archbishop Labastida, one of the old 
archenemies of the Liberal party, to officiate at his mar- 
riage. This was in line with the largeness of spirit which 
inspired him afterwards to invite representatives of the 
leading clerical families to accept public offices and to 
take their place side by side with their former antag- 
onists in the work of healing the wounds of Mexico and 
turning the currents of national thought and energy into 
creative channels. 

The visit of Diaz and his bride to the United States 
at that time was the occasion of many notable demon- 
strations of American respect and admiration for the 
man who was beginning to be recognized in all civil- 
ized countries as the strongest, wisest, and most trust- 
worthy of Mexican leaders. 



CHAPTER XXXII 

RETURN TO THE PRESIDENCY SAVING MEXICO FROM 

BANKRUPTCY 

No one can form even an approximate idea of 
President Diaz's wonderful work as an administra- 
tive and constructive statesman without knowing some- 
thing of the ruin which the administration of Presi- 
dent Gonzalez brought upon Mexico between 1880 and 
1884. 

In the period represented by the Juarez and Lerdo 
governments, when the Mexican theorists plucked so 
eloquently the harp strings of imaginative democracy, 
the Mexican financial crisis was so grave, the country 
so exhausted, and the credit of the republic so low, that 
warrants on the national treasury for the salaries of 
government employees were bought in the capital of 
Mexico itself for ten cents on the dollar, and govern- 
ment bonds, issued at absolutely ruinous rates of inter- 
est, were with great difficulty sold in London and other 
great financial centers at fifty cents on the dollar. Be- 
fore Diaz first assumed power, the unpaid salaries and 
wages due to government officials and employees alone 
amounted to more than $40,000,006, Some employees 
had not been paid for two years. 

In spite of this terrible condition of things, President 
Diaz, in his first term of office, managed to revive the 
credit of the country, and all persons in public employ- 

370 




RETURN TO THE PRESIDENCY 

ment, whether in the army or civil service, received their 
incomes on time. 

But while Gonzalez sat in the national palace, al- 
though he was able to hold Mexico together as a nation 
and prevent any relapse into armed conflict, Mexico was 
plundered and wrecked by stupidity and corruption. 
Money was spent with almost insane extravagance. Vast 
subsidies were voted to railways and other enterprises, 
millions piled on millions, without the slightest regard 
to the income of the nation. The government borrowed 
money from private capitalists, banks, and bankers at 
almost incredible rates of interest. A broker was kept 
in the national palace to hawk the government's credit 
about from door to door. It was a common thing to 
issue bonds which were received by the government in 
payment of customs duties. These bonds could only be 
used in the customhouses by the persons to whom they 
were issued. A money lender would, in order to get his 
capital back promptly, have merchandise imported in 
his name for all the leading importers, and would pay 
the duties in government bonds ; so that the custom- 
houses which received the bonds had no money to pay 
into the public treasury. By this device the usurers 
could get ten or twelve per cent in interest for their 
money from the government and immediately get their 
Capital back. 

President Gonzalez's friends and advisers not only 
connived at this method of draining the nation of its 
wealth while corruption and blackmail spread into the 
remotest parts of the public service, and what were at 
first legitimate enterprises were converted into gambling 
adventures but a government ring, which was privately 
interested in the production of nickel and had practically 
secured control of the supply of that metal, introduced 

37 1 



DIAZ, MASTER OF MEXICO 

subsidiary nickel coins into the national currency. No 
limit was placed upon the legal-tender quality of these 
coins. They were issued from the public treasury at one 
standard of value and were receivable in the custom- 
houses at a rate forty per cent higher. Under this ex- 
traordinary arrangement v$ 1 00,000 in nickel coins could 
be obtained from the treasury for $60,000 in silver and 
taken to the customhouse at Vera Cruz, where the nickel 
coins would be accepted as $100,000, leaving a profit 
of $40,000 in twenty-four hours on an investment of 
$60,000. Immense quantities of nickel currency trav- 
eled back and forward between the treasury and the 
customhouses, and the nation was robbed royally, , The 
palpable corruption involved in the nickel currency stirred 
the people of the capital to rioting. 

The Gonzalez administration also provoked violent 
public demonstrations, bordering on attempts at insur- 
rection, by its proposal to recognize the old English 
public debt at a time when the nation had been stripped 
of its resources and was groaning under the weight of 
its bankruptcy. At the close of President Gonzalez's 
term of office the condition of the national finances was 
almost indescribable. 

When Porfirio Diaz was called again to the presi- 
dency the country was so sunk in debt and its sources 
of income so mortgaged that the government was in a 
state of paralysis. The customhouses of Tampico and 
Matamoras had mortgages covering a fraction under 
ninety-nine per cent of their receipts. The customhouse 
of Yera Cruz had mortgages covering nearly eighty-eight 
per cent of its total income; the receipts of the custom- 
houses at Laredo, Mier, and Camargo were mortgaged 
to exactly the same extent. Other customhouses were 
mortgaged to the amount of eighty-seven and a third 

372 



RETURN TO THE PRESIDENCY 

per cent of their receipts. Not only that, but what in- 
come remained in the Vera Cruz customhouse was drawn 
upon to pay $1,000 daily to one private creditor and 
$20,000 a week to another. 

The whole income of the general tax office of the 
Federal District was applied to the service of a thirty- 
million-dollar loan made by the National Bank. The 
general income office of the Federal District was mort- 
gaged to the extent of $2,000 a day to the National Bank 
on account of another loan, which also absorbed the en- 
tire net profits of the National Lottery. 

The national mints were mortgaged for the sum of 
$2,384,568.67. 

There was a mortgage on the national palace and 
on Chapultepec Castle, the summer residence of the 
President. So thoroughly had the nation been gutted 
that in order to secure a loan of $880,000 from the Mort- 
gage Bank, President Gonzalez had actually permitted a 
mortgage to be placed on the following national proper- 
ties : the barracks at Peralvillo; the barracks of Invalidos, 
at Santa Teresa; the barracks at San Ildefonso; the 
School of Arts and Trades for Men; the Encarnation 
National School for Girls; the School of Fine Arts; the 
customhouse of Santo Domingo; the Hospital of Ter- 
jceros; the San Martin Railway; the Astronomical Ob- 
servatory; the Ascension Hacienda; the San Jacinto 
Hacienda, and the Agricultural School. 

So immense and undisguisable was the bankruptcy 
of Mexico that more than one half of the whole Federal 
income was mortgaged in advance. Out of $17,406,- 
700.53 received at the customhouses in that year, 
$13,848,160.30 belonged to the government's credit- 
ors, leaving only $3,558,540.23 free for the national 
treasury. Besides this, the receipts had diminished 

373 



DIAZ, MASTER OF MEXICO 

to the amount *of $6,000,000 from those of the year 
before. 

It was impossible for a government to exist much 
longer under such conditions. The nation's credit was 
gone. It had to sell bonds at such rates, pay such pre- 
miums, and endow its securities with such amazing priv- 
ilege at the customhouses, that not more than one half 
of the face value of bonds were received in cash. ^A._ 
private merchant could borrow money on his note three 
or four times cheaper than the nation. Ordinary and 
extraordinary means of income were practically ex- 
hausted. The receipts of the national treasury for the 
approaching year could by no means exceed $4,000,000, 
while the government budget showed an estimated ex- 
penditure of $40,000,000, to say nothing of a deficit of 
$26,588,615.79 standing over from the previous year. 

So daring were the methods employed to wreck the 
finances of the nation that the money lenders even in- 
duced the government not only to pay principal and 
interest on outrageous loans and to mortgage the public 
buildings, but also to subject itself to heavy fines when 
the interest was not paid on time. When Diaz became 
President again, he ordered the Secretary of Finance 
to take $1,000 a day from the internal taxes and 
pay it into the Mortgage Bank, to be applied to the 
public debt. After four months he asked the Secretary 
how much of the debt had been paid off. That official 
replied that not a dollar of principal or interest had been 
satisfied, as all the money had gone into penalties for 
overdue payments. Diaz then ordered that in future 
not a dollar of the penalties should be paid, and that only 
principal and interest should be recognized. Thereat the 
president of the Mortgage Bank went to him and indig- 
nantly called his attention to the law authorizing credit- 

374 



RETURN TO THE PRESIDENCY 

ors to fine the government. Diaz answered that it was 
a vicious law, which he could not observe, and that he 
would induce the Congress to change it. This he did 
at once, and not another dollar of penalty money was 
wrung from the treasury by the extortionists. 

From all parts of the country there went up a cry 
for the return of Porfirio Diaz to power. Not only were 
all classes beginning to feel the effects of extravagance 
and spoliation; not only was the name of Mexico again 
becoming a hissing and a byword abroad, but the very 
life of the republic seemed to be menaced. 

It was the havoc wrought by the Gonzalez adminis- 
tration, its bankruptcy of the nation, its corruption of 
the public attitude toward public debts a corruption so 
profound that the mere proposal to recognize the English 
debt provoked riots although it was generally believed 
that Gonzalez and his friends would have made millions 
of dollars themselves out of the transaction that fixed 
the resolution of Diaz to again become President of 
Mexico; and it was the memory of this financial chaos 
and bankruptcy, the memory of times when neither the 
army nor the civil employees of the government were 
regularly paid for their services, and when the news- 
papers would announce at irregular^ intervals that on 
such and such a day the public employees would receive 
a portion of the money due to them it was this stark 
memory that made the country resolve not to let Diaz 
retire even after he had restored the public credit and 
made the nation solvent again: 

With an empty treasury and with the money lenders 
draining the country dry of its revenues, even the judges 
in the country began to sell justice in the courts in order 
to support themselves. One judge in the capital, who 
had made a peculiarly atrocious decision, was stopped 
25 375 



DIAZ, MASTER OF MEXICO 

in the street by. friends of the victim of his judgment, 
who loudly accused him of having accepted bribes from 
the successful litigant. The judge placed his hand over 
his heart and naively declared that his conscience was 
free on that score, because he had been careful to accept 
money from both sides. 

Things grew worse and worse, and the cry for the 
return of Diaz could not be silenced. In 1884 he was 
once more elected President, taking possession of his 
office on December ist of that year. The demand for 
his services may be judged by the fact that, although he 
was a private citizen ^when elected, he received 15,969 
out of the 16,462 electoral votes cast. 

Then began the long stretch of sane and constructive 
government which won from President Roosevelt's pen 
the declaration that " President Diaz is the greatest 
statesman now living," and inspired Elihu Root, the 
conservative and reticent Secretary of State, to say in 
a public speech : " I look to Porfirio Diaz, the President 
of Mexico, as one of the great men to be held up for 
the hero worship of mankind." 

President Diaz has remained in power continuously 
for twenty-six years, in addition to his first term of four 
years, and he has just been reflected for six years more; 
so that, if he should live out his new term of office, he 
will have served as President of the Mexican Republic 
for thirty-six years. 

Almost the first act of Diaz, on returning to the presi- 
dency in 1884, was to have his own salary cut down from 
$30,000 to $15,000. As a soldier he never asked his 
men to go where he would not lead ; so, now, in dealing 
with an imperious necessity for retrenchment, he first 
reduced his own income by one half before asking the 
other officials and employees to suffer a diminution of 

376 




GENERAL DIAZ WHEN HE BECAME PRESIDENT FOR THE SECOND 
TIME, IN 1884. 



RETURN TO THE PRESIDENCY 

their pay. Then he made a general reduction of salaries 
which saved $2,221,545 a year. In addition to this, he 
enforced economies in all branches of the government, 
and held his subordinates strictly in the collection of 
the nation's revenues. As a further sign of his attitude 
he refused to live in the national palace, and made his 
residence in a modest private houseMose by. 

With his mind set on restoring the national credit, 
the President grappled heroically with the neglected 
debts of the country. The floating debt of $25,000,000 
which consisted mainly of unpaid salaries and wages 
in the military service and civil list, overdue subsidies to 
small railways, pay warrants on the treasury, and short- 
time loans was converted into a scheme of annual pay- 
ments of $1,943,275 during twenty-five years, which was 
equivalent to raising a cash loan of $25,000,000 at six 
per cent. 

The mighty foreign debt claims of $227,413,220 were 
consolidated and recognized. The total sum was ad- 
justed to $147,274,000, a saving of $80,139,220. So 
great was the confidence inspired by the President's 
straightforward measures to satisfy the obligations con- 
tracted by the country, that the foreign creditors cheer- 
fully accepted Mexican bonds, and even conceded the 
right of Mexico to redeem the bonds at forty per cent 
of their face value. The ultimate result of this intelli- 
gent, energetic, and courageous policy was that the nation 
was able, with the hearty consent of its creditors, to 
extinguish a nominal debt of $227,413,220 with $58,- 
909,600. 

It will be seen that, quite aside from the satisfactory 
and economical arrangement of the $25,000,000 of press- 
ing floating debt, the manifest honesty and strength of 
Mexico under the rule of Diaz enabled the government 

377 



RETURN TO THE PRESIDENCY 

their pay. Then he made a general reduction of salaries 
which saved $2,221,545 a year. In addition to this, he 
enforced economies in all branches of the government, 
and held his subordinates strictly in the collection of 
the nation's revenues. As a further sign of his attitude 
he refused to live in the national palace, and made his 
residence in a modest private house^close by. 

With his mind set on restoring the national credit, 
the President grappled heroically with the neglected 
debts of the country. The floating debt of $25,000,000 
which consisted mainly of unpaid salaries and wages 
in the military service and civil list, overdue subsidies to 
small railways, pay warrants on the treasury, and short- 
time loans was converted into a scheme of annual pay- 
ments of $1,943,275 during twenty-five years, which was 
equivalent to raising a cash loan of $25,000,000 at six 
per cent. 

The mighty foreign debt claims of $227,413,220 were 
consolidated and recognized. The total sum was ad- 
justed to $147,274,000, a saving of $80,139,220. So 
great was the confidence inspired by the President's 
straightforward measures to satisfy the obligations con- 
tracted by the country, that the foreign creditors cheer- 
fully accepted Mexican bonds, and even conceded the 
right of Mexico to redeem the bonds at forty per cent 
of their face value. The ultimate result of this intelli- 
gent, energetic, and courageous policy was that the nation 
was able, with the hearty consent of its creditors, to 
extinguish a nominal debt of $227,413,220 with $58,- 
909,600. 

It will be seen that, quite aside from the satisfactory 
and economical arrangement of the $25,000,000 of press- 
ing floating debt, the manifest honesty and strength of 
Mexico under the rule of Diaz enabled the government 

377 



DIAZ, MASTER OF MEXICO 

not only to sa\se $168,503,620 in the settlement of its 
foreign debt, but also to give Mexican securities a serious 
place in the money markets of the world; and it was 
this splendid proof of the republic's purpose to turn from 
extravagance and bankruptcy and pay her debts at home 
and abroad that enabled Mexico, in 1888, four years 
after the financial chaos in which her revenues and pub- 
lic buildings were mortgaged, her treasury empty, and 
her credit dead, to raise a cash loan of $105,000,000, at 
six per cent interest, from the great German banking 
house of Bleichroeder. 

When President Barrios, of Guatemala, attempted to 
make himself dictator of the five Central American re- 
publics, President Diaz protested against the principle 
of conquest being introduced among the peoples of 
America, and kept a Mexican army of 18,000 men on 
the Guatemalan frontier until the death of Barrios, in 
1885, on the battlefield of Chalchuapa, in Salvador, ended 
that adventurer's intolerable enterprise. 

An attempt was made in the Mexican Congress to 
bring Gonzalez to trial and punishment for his misdeeds 
in office, and among the deputies who pressed for this 
action was Don Jose Yves Limantour, now the great 
Secretary of Finance of Mexico, whose services to his 
country rank second only to those of President Diaz, 
and whose fame as a practical statesman, political econ- 
omist, and financier is known in all countries. President 
Diaz did not encourage this movement against Gonzalez, 
because it seemed to him unwise at that critical time to 
stir up discord, especially in the army, where Gonzalez 
had a large following. He sacrificed all side issues to 
his great design of preserving the peace and lifting up 
the national credit. 

As President Diaz's second term of office drew to its 

378 



RETURN TO THE PRESIDENCY 

close, Mexico's financial standing all over the world 
stood high, and her domestic affairs were in a flourish- 
ing condition. Public officials and employees were paid 
^promptly and all government obligations were discharged 
on time. The work of building railways, telegraph lines, 
and other public improvements was pushed forward vig- 
orously. Foreign capital began to flow into the country. 
A multitude of public schools were opened and education^ ^ 
was made compulsory. 

With the recollection of Gonzalez's shameful and dis- 
astrous administration in mind, it seemed little short of 
national insanity to think of allowing Diaz to retire from 
office. Yet the Constitution forbade a president_JjQ.^uc= 
ceed himself. While the call for Diaz's continuation in 
power grew louder and more general the very sugges- 
tion that he might not stay in office was a menace to 
Mexican credit his father-in-law, Don Manuel Romero 
Rubio, quietly started a movement in the Congress which 
resulted in an .amendment to the Constitution permitting 
the President to serve for two Consecutive terms^ Be- 
fore his third term had expired the Constitution was 
changed, so that the President might serve as 
as the people chose to elect him. 

In Diaz's first term of office there was a vague con- 
spiracy against the government between certain ambi- 
tious generals and the President of the Supreme Court, 
who was the constitutional successor ,to the President. 
This plot never got beyond the initial stage. Yet it 
suggested a grave danger. In order to lessen this dan- 
ger, President Gonzalez had, by an executive order and 
without the slightest legal authority, changed the term 
of office of the President of the Supreme Court from 
six years to one year, provided that he should be chosen 
by the court from its own body, and also that he could 

379 




DIAZ, MASTER OF MEXICO 

not be elected 'to succeed (himself immediately. This 
arbitrary act, which prevented any person in direct 'suc- 
cession to the presidency from being in, office long enough 
to xfinspjre, was afterwards legalized, and the system 
stood substantially so until congressional officers were 
named for the presidential succession, and, later on, the 
office of Vice President was created. 

The subsequent reelection of President Diaz for four- 
year terms in 1892, in 1896, and in 1900, and his re- 
election for six-year terms in 1894 and 1910, are the 
result of a_national determination to continue his great 
policy of peace "and progress as long as he can be per- 
suaded to serve. 



CHAPTER XXXIII 

WONDERFUL RESULTS OF DIAZ'S RULE 

IT is not possible to tell in narrative form the story 
of President Diaz's steady and peaceful work of con- 
struction and regeneration in Mexico. Such a gigantic 
achievement can only be expressed by a statement of 
results. The tranquil, united, and flourishing Mexico 
of to-day, contrasted with the divided, blood-stained, 
lawless, and bankrupt Mexico when President Diaz first 
assumed power, furnishes the best answer that can be 
made to the ignorant slanderers, blackmailers, and 
would-be revolutionists who, safely sheltered in for- 
eign lands, have sought to befoul the name of their own 
country. 

Side by side with the President stands Don Jose 
Yves Limantour, the great Secretary of Finance, who 
shares with him the honor of many of Mexico's greatest 
modern achievements. This brilliant statesman, whose 
profound knowledge of finance and business generally 
and whose honesty, vigilance, and energy have played 
such a wonderful part in the material uplift of the na- 
tion, was already a man of great wealth when President 
Diaz drew him into his Cabinet in 1893. Since then 
his services to Mexico have made him known in all 
countries. 

In the first year of Diaz's presidency, 1877-78, the 
whole national income of Mexico was only $19,776*638. 

381 



DIAZ, MASTER OF MEXICO 

By 1908-9 it was almost $100,000,000. Two years be- 
fore that it had reached the enormous aggregate of 
$114,286,122. In other words, the peaceful and pro- 
gressive conditions secured by the strength and intelli- 
gence of the national administration multiplied the gov- 
ernment's revenues more than five times. 

In spite of this financial abundance, Mexican affairs 
were managed with such frugality and consummate abil- 
ity that the combined surpluses of income over expendi- 
ture accumulated during that period amounted to more 
than $136,000,000. President Diaz found his country 
in an abyss of poverty and debt. Before the end of his 
seventh term of office he had saved up $136,000,000. 
Of this huge surplus, about $61,000,000 was spent on 
large constructive works of public improvement and the 
remaining $75,000,000 was retained in the treasury as 
a cash balance. 

When Diaz first took control of Mexico, imaginative 
democracy had brought the country to such a pass that 
Mexican bonds bearing ten and twelve per cent interest 
could be bought in London for ten cents on the dollar. 
To-day Mexican four-per-cent bonds sell at ninety-seven 
cents on the dollar; which means that Mexico's credit 
is so good that her government can borrow money at a 
slight fraction more than four per cent interest. Mexico 
can borrow in any of the world's money markets at a 
lower rate of interest than Russia, Portugal, Greece, and 
many other old nations. 

Counting the rate at which bonds were sold before 
Diaz became President, together with the enormous pre- 
miums, rates of interest, and customhouse privileges, it 
is certain that, under Juarez and Lerdo, Mexico some- 
times paid a thousand per cent for the use of cash. 
Think of it a thousand per cent! Contrast that with 

382 



RESULTS OF DIAZ'S RULE 

the Mexico which has saved $136,000,000 over her 
regular expenses in thirty years of intelligent govern- 
ment; has spent $61,000,000 in harbors and other per- 
manent works, and now, with a cash surplus of $75,- 
000,000 in her treasury, can raise all the money she needs 
at practically four per cent interest, and it will be possi- 
ble to measure one angle at least of what Diaz has meant 
and still means to his country. 

No figures showing the foreign trade of Mexico 
when Diaz first came into power in 1876 are obtainable. 
But a statement of that commerce in the year when he 
succeeded to the wreck and shame of Gonzalez's admin- 
istration, compared with conditions to-day, illustrates the 
difference between sentimental or technical theories of 
government and actual government itself. Here are the 
figures. 



1884-85 
Imports.. $23,786,684.90 

1909-10 
Imports. .$194,854,547.00 



1884-85 
Exports.. $46,670,845.00 

1909-10 
Exports. .$260,056,228.03 



Each of these lines represents the whole foreign com- 
merce of Mexico for a fiscal year. Twenty-six years 
of progressive government lie between the figures. 

At the beginning of Diaz's service in 1876 the na- 
tional government had only fifty-one poor wagon roads 
connecting the capital \vith the states of the republic, 
with a total length of 3,728 miles. In that same year 
the whole railway mileage of the republic together was 
only 407 miles. 

After thirty years of Diaz's energetic and far- 
sighted statesmanship Mexico finds herself served in 
1910 by 15,000 miles of railways, including the splen- 
did Tehuantepec National ^Railway, reaching from ocean 

383 



DIAZ, MASTER OF MEXICO 

to ocean, a formidable competitor to the Panama 
Canal. 

This vast system of transportation is the result of 
a generous and continuous policy of encouragement and 
protection to both foreign and native capital. It is esti- 
mated that more than $1,300,000,000 has been invested 
in Mexican railways. Of this immense sum perhaps one 
half represents the enterprise of citizens of the United 
States. These figures, as all financial statements through- 
out this book, represent Mexican currency, not gold. It 
is interesting to set this result of Diaz's railway policy 
in direct contrast: 

1876 1910 

407 miles of railways J*. 15,000 miles of railways 

In addition to this, several thousand miles of new 
rails have already been planned in Mexico, and when 
the work is finished it will be possible to go by rail 
from Sonora, or the banks of the Rio Grande, to the 
frontier of Guatemala and beyond, or to Campeche and 
Yucatan. 

The total value of the railways in Mexico to-day is 
estimated at $1,324,272,621. There are 124 lines, carry- 
ing in 1909 85,652,756 passengers, 9*756,869,153 tons 
of freight, and producing aggregate receipts of $61,187,- 
794, as against $2,564,890 in 1876. 

Aside from other considerations, the mere police 
power of this mighty system of railways the direct re- 
sult of Diaz's ideas and influence is worth all it cost, 
as a protection in the present and a guaranty for the 
future. 

When Diaz first became President the total length of 
the telegraph lines in Mexico was 4,420 miles. In 1909 
the telegraph and telephone lines of the republic had 

384 



RESULTS OF DIAZ'S RULE 

increased to nearly 20,000,000 miles, to say nothing of 
the government's wireless telegraph systems, submarine 
cables, and subriver cables. 

In 1876 the Mexican postal service carried only 
4,709,750 pieces of mail, at a cost of $424,708. In 1909 
the movement of mail matter through the Mexican post 
offices amounted to 191,744,916 pieces, producing a rev- 
enue of $4,316,848 and costing $5,018,823. 

Statistics may sometimes be tiresome; nevertheless, 
even the dullest mind can catch the meaning of an in- 
creased postal service in the daily lives of a people, and 
the figures show that the Mexican mails carry forty times 
as many letters and packages as when Diaz began his 
first administration. 

In spite of the fame of Mexico as a land of mineral 
wealth, when Diaz took direction of the government the 
annual production of silver and gold was only $26,- 
310,815.34. In those days the control of mining was in 
the hands of the states, and investors and operators found 
conditions confusing and unreliable. Under Diaz the 
whole question of mining rights was nationalized, made 
uniform, and taken out of the perplexities and corrup- 
tions of merely local control. A mining concession in 
Mexico became as secure as a mining right in the United 
States. The strength of the government, and its reason- 
able and generous dealing with investors, had a powerful 
effect in stimulating this important source of wealth, and 
by 1908 the yearly production of silver and gold alone 
reached the enormous sum of $125,894,089.33. In 1909 
there were 31,988 mining properties of all kinds in the 
republic, covering a billion acres and producing an annual 
yield of $160,232,876.08. 

During the Diaz administration the coasts and har- 
bors of the country have been greatly improved. The 

385 



DIAZ, MASTER OF MEXICO 

most elaborate works have been constructed in the ports 
of Tampico, Vera Cruz, Coatzalcoalcos, Manzanillo, and 
Salina Cruz. The government has spent $120,000,000 
on these extensive improvements. 

Since 1897 Mexico has served her coasts with 34 
lighthouses, 39 fanals, 23 floats, and 65 buoys, at a cost 
of $7,000,000. 

There was practically <rfp Manufacturing industry in 
the country when Diaz's army turned terdcrout erf power. 
To-day the 146 cotton mills of Mexico alone produce 
$43,370,012.05 of fabrics and employ 32,229 persons; 
the 437 tobacco factories produce 505,437,551 packages 
of cigarettes, 81,336,415 cigars, and about 170,000 
pounds of pipe tobacco; and the sugar refineries yield 
about 127,000 tons of refined sugar to say nothing 
of the jute and silk industries, the woolen mills, iron 
works, smelters, paper mills, soap factories, breweries, 
meat-packing works, and other manufacturing establish- 
ments. 

The immensity of the commercial progress and sta- 
bility wrought out under President Diaz could be proved 
by the banking system, if there were no other way of 
getting at an approximate measurement of improvement. 
In the old days the Church was the one great money 
lender, and in all fairness it must be said that the eccle- 
siastical funds were loaned at an almost unvarying rate 
of about five per cent. But when Juarez swept away 
the power and wealth of the Church, the business men 
of the country were practically without organized and 
responsible means of credit or exchange. 

In 1 88 1 there was only one bank in Mexico, the 
Bank of London, Mexico, and South America, with a 
capital of $500,000 and $2,000,000 of assets. This was 
a branch of an English institution. In that year Don 



RESULTS OF DIAZ'S RULE 

Enrique Creel, now the distinguished Mexican Secretary 
of Foreign Relations, started the Banca Minera in Chi- 
huahua. His father-in-law, General Terrazas, was in- 
terested in two other local banks. In time these three 
banks were merged together as the Banca Minera. 

It is hard to convey an adequate idea of the diffi- 
culty of starting up or carrying on business in such a 
bankless country, where standards of credit, interest, and 
exchange changed from day to day, sometimes from 
hour to hour. 

Senor Creel's bank received a perpetual charter from 
the state of Chihuahua; but in 1882 President Gonza- 
lez who ultimately brought the nation to wreck and 
bankruptcy caused the Mexican National Bank to be 
established in the City of Mexico with French funds. 
Its capital stock was $8,000,000, of which one half was 
paid up. This bank, in which President Gonzalez him- 
self had stock, was intended to monopolize the banking 
of the nation. Senor Creel undertook to fight the mo- 
nopoly, and quietly encouraged others to .start banks in 
various states, on the theory that the right to charter 
banks was one of the powers of the states. After a 
while Senor Creel and his father-in-law went to Mexico 
City, and a compromise was agreed upon with President 
Gonzalez, under which the perpetual charter granted by 
the state of Chihuahua to the Banca Minera was re- 
placed by a national franchise limited to fifteen years, 
although Gonzalez's own bank had a charter for thirty 
years. 

It is twenty-nine years since the whole Mexican na- 
tion had only one bank, and that a foreign bank, with 
a capital of $500,000 and assets of $2,000,000; and in 
that short period the country has developed thirty-two 
national banks which, even in 1907, had an aggregate 

387 



DIAZ, MASTER OF MEXICO 

capitalization of $173,600,000, with reserve funds of 
$51,898,861.43 and assets amounting in all to $764,001,- 
986.40. 

The part played by Sefior Limantour, the Secretary 
of Finance, in developing and guiding this extraordinary 
result can hardly be expressed in words. The most 
striking thing about it is that none of these banks has 
ever failed, nor has there ever been a complete suspen- 
sion of a Mexican national bank. 

The law itself intelligently analyzes the differing 
functions of the banking system by dividing it into banks 
of issue, mortgage banks, and banks for promotion and 
encouragement. There is now a bank created for the 
purpose of aiding agriculture and irrigation works, with 
an original capital of $10,000,000, in addition to funds 
procured by $50,000,000 of bonds guaranteed by the 
nation ; and the government has also set aside $25,000,000 
for subsidies to irrigation enterprises and long-time loans 
to agriculturalists. 

It would take a separate volume to merely catalogue 
the evidences of Mexico's rise to wealth and power un- 
der the leadership of President Diaz and the statesmen 
he has drawn to his support and service. 

In the matter of education the republic has made 
much progress in spite of the indifference of the mass of 
the Indian population. In 1877 there were in the 4,715 
public schools of Mexico only 164,699 pupils, with 4,428 
teachers. This covered the whole republic, including 
the states. The funds devoted to public instruction then 
did not exceed $2,049,045. 

The revolution wrought in this direction is indicated 
by the fact that there were, in 1909, 12,599 schools, with 
778,000 pupils, under 15,000 professors and teachers, at 
an annual cost of $7,000,000. 



RESULTS OF DIAZ'S RULE 

It is doubtful whether more than ten per pent of the 
whole Mexican population could read and write when 
Diaz first became President. To-day probably one third 
of the inhabitants of the country and one half of the 
inhabitants of the Federal District can read and write. 
All this in addition to numerous colleges and professional 
schools, not to count the libraries and museums. 

The pomp and grace of the old Spanish aristocracy 
have vanished; the glory, mystery, and power of the 
privileged Church have disappeared; the dashing, jin- 
gling whiskerandos of the revolutions have gone; the 
picturesque excitements of brigandage, kidnaping, and 
rioting are no more; and the thrill of bankruptcy no 
longer adds its touch of tragedy to general ignorance 
and demoralization. Mexico has become a peaceful, 
prosperous, debt-paying country. Yet there is still to 
be found in the wild grandeur of her scenery, the ro- 
mance of her ancient ruins, the picturesque and quaint 
characteristics of her lovable people, the indescribable 
interest of her cities and villages, and the almost stagger- 
ing richness of her unplowed and undigged wealth 
there is to be found in these and other things a charm 
not easily to be felt elsewhere in the world. But that 
which takes hold of the deeper imagination is the sight 
of a nationality rising bravely and steadily out of the 
ashes of the past. 

A few grieve for the passing of the old days of 
democratic theories and endless fighting in Mexico, but 
enlightened and sensible men who understand the char- 
acteristics and needs of the Mexican people fully recog- 
nize how unanswerably the strong, and sometimes harsh, 
rule of President Diaz has justified itself; and there 
never was a truer saying than that " consequences are 
unpitying." 

389 



DIAZ, MASTER OF MEXICO 

In examining the proofs of Mexican development it 
is necessary to keep in mind the foresight of the gov- 
ernment in guarding against evils which have come upon 
other countries in the rush of material success. 

Senor Limantour was in control of the national 
finances when, in the fiscal year 1895-96, the income 
of the nation first showed an actual surplus over the 
expenditure. It was he, too, who, in 1896, with the 
powerful support of President Diaz, succeeded finally in 
abolishing the alcabalas, or inland customhouses, which 
weighed so cruelly upon commerce between the states 
and repressed the internal development of the nation. 
That achievement went well with the system of national 
banks which made banking free in Mexico. The alcabala 
methods had been maintained for centuries. 

Senor Limantour also worked out the admirable 
scheme through which Mexico put herself upon an equal 
plane with other commercial nations by changing from 
the silver to the gold standard of money values. This 
was done in the face of furious opposition from the vast 
silver mine interests. Before the gold standard was 
adopted the Mexican mints were exporting to Asia from 
$40,000,000 to $45,000,000 of new silver dollars annual- 
ly. But the fluctuations in values destroyed Mexican 
commerce on a large scale. An article worth $i twenty- 
five years before was now worth $2.60. It was impos- 
sible to make accurate budget estimates. The variation 
in values actually made a difference of thirty-five per 
cent in some years in the interest on the foreign debt, and 
the same confusion showed itself in the payment of inter- 
est and dividends on railway and other investments. The 
outcry of the silver men was so great when the govern- 
ment proposed the gold standard that it seemed as if all 
foreign capital would be withdrawn from Mexican mines. 

390 



RESULTS OF DIAZ'S RULE 

Notwithstanding this, the gold standard was adopted, 
and Mexico ceased to be a byword in the financial mar- 
kets of civilization. 

In this, as in other things, President Diaz governed 
his country according to facts and not according to 
theories, always looking to the future as well as the 
present. 

One of the most remarkable acts of original and 
courageous statesmanship in the administration of Pres- 
ident Diaz is represented by the great railway merger 
through which the Mexican Government has protected 
the Mexican nation against the perils of a railway trust 
or monopoly such as at one time seemed to threaten 
even the highly developed, experienced, and hard-headed 
people of the United States. 

As the development of railways in Mexico began to 
approach the present proportions of 15,000 miles, the 
Diaz administration) always on the alert. -against.., influ- 
ences tending to overshadow or lessen the controL-of 
Mexicans in their own affair>, became aware of the fact 
that one of the mightiest railway systems in the United 
States a system that had swallowed up one railway 
after another, until its power in business and politics 
in the United States was a subject of widespread pro- 
test and governmental investigation was attempting to 
buy control of the Mexican Central Railway, which was 
financially embarrassed and likely to be unable to pay the 
interest on its bonds. 

There could be no doubt that this would be the first 
step in the economic conquest of Mexico by foreigners, 
a conquest that must eventually invade the domestic 
politics, and ultimately the government, of the republic. 
With the great trunk lines in the hands of foreign cor- 
porations, and the connecting railways at the mercy of 
26 39 1 



DIAZ, MASTER OF MEXICO 

the central monopoly, the industry and agriculture of 
Mexico would be in the grip of aliens. Already, in 1903, 
the government had prevented a merger of the Mexican 
National and the Mexican Central lines by buying the 
stock control of the Mexican National. But in 1906 the 
signs of a proposed conquest of Mexico through a giant 
railway monopoly were again formidable. As Mr. Li- 
mantour said to the Mexican Congress : 

" In the event of our railways being absorbed by 
more powerful systems beyond our borders, and being 
operated like those systems by companies organized un- 
der foreign laws, and from which every Mexican ele- 
ment had been excluded, could any clause that might be 
inserted in a concession prevent our country from being 
exploited as a sort of tributary territory or keep those 
colossal corporations themselves from a more or less 
thinly veiled intervention in the economic and political 
life of the nation? " 

With the hearty approval of President Diaz, Mr. 
Limantour, supported by the Congress, prepared a plan 
through which the nation might be saved from the threat- 
ened foreign railway despotism and Mexico kept open 
and free for both native and foreign investors in agri- 
culture, mining, and manufactures; for it was clear that 
if a railway trust could hamper and frighten a nation 
with such courage, energy, and individual powers of 
resistance as the people of the United States, the en- 
gulfing and controlling force of such a combination 
would be all the more terrible in a partly developed, 
languid, and easy-going people like the Mexicans. 

The result of Mr. Limantour's labors was a merger 
of the following lines, with the stock control in the hands 
of the Mexican Government, thus averting forever any 
danger of a private railway tyranny in the republic : 

39 2 



RESULTS OF DIAZ'S RULE 

THE NATIONAL RAILWAYS OF MEXICO 

National Railways of Mexico 6,166.456 miles 

Interoceanic Railway of Mexico 733-837 " 

Mexican Southern Railway 292.043 " 

Texas-Mexican Railway ,. 161.853 " 

Pan-American Railroad 284.276 " 

Vera Cruz and Isthmus Railroad 292.043 " 

Total 7,930.508 " 

In addition to this the government owns the Tehuan- 
tepec National Railway Company, whose lines are 207 
miles long, with the magnificent modern harbors of 
Salina Cruz and Puerto Mexico a direct ocean-to- 
ocean system that was opened by President Diaz in 
1907. 

In the attempt to minimize the importance of this 
courageous and far-seeing achievement of 'Mexican 
statesmanship, some of the evil agitators who delight in 
all that hurts the name of their country have whispered 
about insinuations that Mr. Limantour " unloaded " his 
own railway properties into the government combination. 
The truth is that Mr. Limantour never owned a share of 
railway stock in his life. 

The great Mexican railway merger wonderfully com- 
bines government control with private operation. Its 
authorized capital stock is $447,492,706.66, and its bonds 
$270,907,280. This, with the still outstanding and 
guaranteed stocks of the National Railroad Company 
($95,480,000) and of the Mexican International ($20,- 
113,000), brings the total authorized capitalization of 
the merged lines up to a total of $833,592,986.66. These 
figures, of course, all represent Mexican currency. Only 
a part of the authorized securities has been issued. About 
$250,000,000 are held in reserve. Generous provision 

393 



DIAZ, MASTER OF MEXICO 

has been made- for the extension of the old lines and 
the acquisition of new lines. 

Although the government has a voting control, its 
fixed policy is not to interfere with railway administra- 
tion, reserving its power for matters concerning free- 
dom of commerce and the protection and development 
of the country. 

It will be seen that by this intelligent arrangement 
the large minority, representing private ownership, which 
actuary manages the operation of the 7,930.508 miles of 
merged lines, prevents the destructive tendencies of ab- 
solute government ownership and management which 
might wreck the system by ignoring commercial con- 
siderations and yielding to political favoritism ; while the 
power of the government to intervene protects commerce 
and the country generally from a greedy policy that 
would sacrifice everything to an appetite for immediate 
and enormous profits, considering only the present divi- 
dends of the railways and forgetting Mexico as a whole. 

Not only has the railway merger warded off a pro- 
found national danger, preserved the liberty of com- 
merce, and left Mexican fields of investment more secure 
than ever, but the lines are managed more economically, 
the service is better, and the profits are greater than 
under the old system. The report for June 30, 1910, 
shows total gross earnings of $31,593,557.78 and net 
earnings of $20,968,735.61. This is immensely better 
than when the roads were owned separately; nor has 
commerce been compelled to bear the burden of the 
admirable result. Besides, the lines are now secure 
against bankruptcy, and instead of the two-per-cent divi- 
dends which were guaranteed on the first preferred stock 
from the earnings of the year ending June 30, 1910, the 
company has for two years actually paid four per cent. 

394 



RESULTS OF DIAZ'S RULE 

It was thought that the drainage of the Valley of 
Mexico, at a cost of $15,967,778; the paving, sanitation, 
and beautification of the capital, and the construction of 
the Tehuantepec railway, with its two terminal ports, 
marked high water in the tide of improvements achieved 
by Mexico under the rule of President Diaz; but the 
railway merger surpasses all other events in far-reaching 
importance since he first extinguished revolutions and 
brigandage, met the national debts on time, and gave 
the signal for the general railway development of the 
country. 



CHAPTER XXXIV 

THE REAL MEXICAN PROBLEM 

FOR thirty years President Diaz has governed Mex- 
ico with the power of an autocrat. No monarch in the 
world has been able to exercise such authority over a 
people. So much have Mexicans fallen into the habit 
of relying upon his judgment and carrying out his wishes 
that he can name the governors of the twenty-seven 
states, the members of the Congress, the judges of the 
courts. All things in the life of the nation fall into 
order and move according to his will, following, of 
course, the main purposes and general lines rather than 
the strict letter of the Constitution. 

After thirty years of almost absolute power, his whole 
fortune consists of about $200,000 and the house he 
occupies in Mexico City. He also owns $17,000 of Mex- 
ican bonds, given to him for military service; but these 
he has turned over to his wife, being unwilling to pre- 
sent them for payment while he is President of Mexico. 

With 30,000 soldiers and a few thousand rurales he 
has been able to maintain peace, and make life and prop- 
erty almost as safe in the Mexican republic as they are 
in France, England, or Germany ; and the population has 
increased to about 16,000,000 persons. 

Beneath the national government are the 27 state 
governors, with their 295 political chiefs, or jefes po- 
liticos, 1,798 municipal presidents, and 4,574 justices 

396 



THE REAL MEXICAN PROBLEM 

of the peace, or comisarios. These, with the governor 
of the Federal District, represent the executive instru- 
mentalities of the nation. 

No one has understood better than President Diaz 
the futility of attempting to deal with his people as 
though they were Anglo-Saxons developed by ancestry, 
tradition, racial instinct, education, and habit to sustain 
the individual burdens and responsibilities of citizenship 
contemplated by their Anglo-Saxon Constitution. The 
truth is, that probably not more than one tenth of the 
population of Mexico ever casts a vote at an election. 
Nevertheless, the Constitution endows every male adult 
with the right to vote. This condition of things is 
largely due to the natural laziness and political indiffer- 
ence of the Indians and part Indians who constitute more 
than three quarters of the whole citizenship of the coun- 
try. It is also partly the result of a general feeling 
among the masses, either that things are bound to go 
on well under the direction of President Diaz, or that i 
would.be worse than useless to attempt to oppose any- 
thing he favored. 

There is no gentler, no more polite and lovable people 
in the world than the great body of the Mexicans. Nor 
is there any country in which the domestic affections 
show more tenderly, even among the poorest and most 
ignorant. The Indian blood flowers constantly in the 
professions, and among the descendants of the ancient 
races are to be found brilliant lawyers, physicians, en- 
gineers, and other men of training and culture. Skilled 
labor has begun to organize itself. A deep bond of 
sympathy and historical consciousness unites the tradi- 
tionally exclusive members of fashionable society with 
the most wretched and degraded peons a spirit quite 
patriarchal, but none the less genuine. Yet, unfortunate- 

397 



DIAZ, MASTER OF MEXICO 

ly, the average ^Mexican is imbued with a sort of political 
fatalism, a feeling that somehow the government will go 
on by itself; and President Diaz has constantly com- 
plained that his countrymen, as a whole, do not take a 
sufficient and rational interest in politics. He has an in- 
extinguishable faith in the future of his people, and is 
intensely proud of their amiability and talents, but 
frankly acknowledges their present political shallowness. 

To get at the heart of Mexican politics and govern- 
ment, one must always remember that the great majority 
of the inhabitants are probably derived from Oriental 
races, and then hark back over the track of less than 
four centuries to the time when their ancestors were 
idol-worshiping subjects of kings, warriors, and priests, 
given over to cannibalism. They had temples, palaces, 
fortresses, laws, arts, and a distinct civilization many 
centuries before the armed Spaniards burst in upon them 
from the sea, but there was no trace of democratic aspi- 
rations, instincts, or capacities among them, either then 
or in the agonizing centuries of Spanish misgovernment 
and oppression. 

For more than half a century the Mexican people, 
particularly the Indians and hybrids, gave thrilling proof 
of their willingness and ability to fight and die for 
independence. However, history is full of instances 
showing that peoples will fight for collective, or national, 
independence who care little or nothing about the polit- 
ical sovereignty of the individual, which is the main 
burden of political philosophy in Anglo-Saxon countries. 

It is the practice of those who criticise or attack the 
government of Mexico to compare political conditions in 
that country with political conditions in the United States, 
simply because the two nations are geographical neigh- 
bors, and because their written constitutions are alike in 

398 



THE REAL MEXICAN PROBLEM 

essentials. It would be more to the point, and in accord 
with facts and common sense, to compare political con- 
ditions in Mexico with political conditions in the other 
so-called Latin-American republics. 

There are some races to whom absolute democracy 
is like sunlight, bringing out clearly the hard realities 
of life, and revealing in all their naked difficulties the 
problems of society as a whole in their relation to the 
individual. In such races the tendency of the citizen is 
not merely to insist upon his personal privileges, but to 
show a jealous regard for his duty to take upon himself, 
in his own private station, a full share of the stress, 
strain, and pain of government. 

There are other races to whom democracy is like 
moonlight, throwing romantic half-lights; giving an air 
of solemn beauty and dignity to the ugly and the evil 
alike with the fair and the good ; revealing the imagina- 
tive and sentimental, but concealing the practical. In 
such races democracy becomes a vague sentiment, and 
the individual who looks to the government for all things, 
rejecting or ignoring his own responsibilities in main- 
taining order and promoting the general welfare pro- 
claiming his rights but forgetting his duties, and igno- 
rant of the fact that the process of government begins 
with personal self-restraint is apt to regard armed riot- 
ing against temporary or individual discomforts or dis- 
advantages as equally justifiable with war deliberately 
undertaken against unjust and intolerable government. 

The Mexican people have not yet had a fair chance 
to show their possibilities under complete conditions of 
democratic liberty. That is yet to come. Meanwhile 
the work of moral, economic, social, and political prepa- 
ration, for the lack of which all previous democratic 
experiments have broken down, has been going forward 

399 



DIAZ, MASTER OF MEXICO 

under the supervision and direction of President Diaz 
and his associates; and the elements of stability and 
conservatism already developed by continuous peace, in- 
dustry, and education furnish a strong promise for the 
future, when the venerable master of Mexico shall pass 
away. 

It is said that President Diaz selects the governors 
of the twenty-seven Mexican states, and that the execu- 
tive power is so great that state sovereignty is in some 
respects a theory rather than a fact. In a sense this is 
true. Such is his influence that he has but to indi- 
cate the name of the candidate he approves, and the 
election becomes a formal ratification of his political 
judgment. 

But state sovereignty in Mexico is of necessity a con- 
stitutional fiction. In this, as in other things, many have 
been led astray by comparisons with the local sovereign- 
ties of the United States. The original thirteen Amer- 
ican states met as independent nations. Being independ- 
ent and sovereign, they created a nation with defined 
and limited sovereign powers, reserving the residuary 
sovereignty to themselves. In Mexico, however, the na- 
tional government existed first as the sole and original 
sovereign, and in the last analysis the states are, in spite 
of the language of the Constitution, mere subdivisions of 
the national power for convenience of local administra- 
tion. Even the electoral system through which the Pres- 
ident and Vice President are chosen does not recognize 
state lines. It must be remembered, too, that the colonies 
which formed the United States were through all their 
history separate and wholly independent of each other; 
and, although they were subject to a common sovereign 
across the seas, they had different histories, laws, tradi- 
tions, and habits; so that when they came together as 

400 



THE REAL MEXICAN PROBLEM 

free states they were in all respects independent of each 
other. The Mexican provinces had no such antecedents, 
but were the merely administrative districts of a single 
Spanish colony, ruled by a viceroy and a council. 

Events and the necessities of the people have made 
the dominant principle of authority throughout Mexico 
national and executive rather than federative or legis- 
lative. Otherwise the republic might have perished 
through sheer executive weakness. Injhe^days oi^|ua^ 
rez and Lerdo, many of the states disputed" 'tETautEor- 
ity of the national government, and it was not until 
President Diaz broke the power of the various leaders 
who had attempted to set themselves up as virtual dic- 
tators in their own states such as Canales in Tamauli- 
~~~pas, Pesqueira in Sonora, Alvarez in Guerrero, Trevino 
in Nuevo Leon, Terresas in Chihuahua, and Traconis in 
Yucatan that the national life of Mexico became pos- 
sible. 

" The principle of national authority justifies itself 
more and more in Mexico," says President Diaz. " If 
it is so hard to find one man to direct the Federal govern- 
ment, how much more difficult must it be to find twenty- 
seven men to govern the states wisely and in harmony 
with our interests as a nation." 

It would be preposterous to say that government in 
Mexico or conditions in Mexico approach perfection. 
The interminable delays of official processes; the re- 
stricted press; the immense land monopolies; the lack 
of irrigation facilities in agricultural districts; the bru- 
talizing and destructive traffic in pulque, one of the most 
demoralizing intoxicants known; the political character 
of the administration of justice; the system of debt servi- 
tude on farms; the habit of imprisoning citizens for 
trivial or political causes; the extreme rigor of the 

401 



DIAZ, MASTER OF MEXICO 

church laws; th costly and often ornamental improve- 
ments in the national capital and other great cities, while 
the country roads and the small towns and villages are 
neglected these are some of the things that must be 
reformed in the future development of the republic. 
Whether there can be any reform in the popular habits 
which support 117 bull rings, 1 1 lotteries, and 389 pawn- 
shops is a more doubtful question. 

There are something like 2,000 military bands which 
regularly furnish concerts in the parks and plazas of 
Mexico throughout the year. The time must yet come 
when the masses of the people will be less satisfied with 
music supplied at the public expense than with clean 
streets, modern sewerage, and more schools. 

One hears bitter complaint of the jefes politic os, or 
political chiefs. There are 295 of them in the republic. 
These officers represent the power of the state in their 
districts, and completely overshadow the local author- 
ities. Yet it is difficult to see how the essentials of the 
system can be abolished. The jefe politico is practically 
the modern counterpart of the cacique of the ancient 
Mexicans, from an administrative standpoint. The 
Spaniards destroyed the cacique, but they had to invent 
the jefe politico. He is, or is intended to be, the official 
corrective of local sloth and carelessness; but when he 
is incompetent, corrupt, or tyrannous, he has amazing 
powers of irritation. 

However, the history of the Mexican people under 
President Diaz is an unbroken record of progress against 
difficulties that might have crushed a weaker or less de- 
voted man; and the love which his people bear toward 
him, their recognition of his pure patriotism and wise 
statesmanship, and their willingness to follow and sup- 
port him in spite of harshness or errors, are among the 

402 



THE REAL MEXICAN PROBLEM 

surest proofs of the growing mental, moral, social, and 
political steadiness of the Mexican nation as a whole. 

A tremendously significant sign of the sober change 
that has come over the nation is that President Diaz 
who knows his country better than anyone else in the 
world has been drawing civilians rather than soldiers 
to his side, statesmen like Mr. Limantour, Mr. Molina, 
Mr. Creel, and Mr. Corral, who work together in the 
great design of peace through enlarged industry and 
prosperity, following out the President's idea that rail- 
ways, telegraphs, factories, and schools gradually, but 
surely, take the place of soldiers as peace-makers. 

It has been said by one of the most thoughtful and 
responsible of modern Mexican statesmen that Mexico 
is like a very long animal, with the head far away from 
the tail. There is much truth in this idea. The strongly 
centralized tendencies of the government under President 
Diaz, having in mind peace, absolute peace, as the one 
great prerequisite of all other things, have produced a 
development in the Federal District and in the central 
states out of all proportion to the state of things in the 
more remote parts of the republic. Until very recently 
the guerrilla warfare and fierce brigandage of the Yaqui 
Indians in Sonora prevented any serious attempt to open 
up the full resources of that rich state of the Northwest. 
Even now the treacherous bushwhacking and thuggery 
of some of the irreconcilable Maya Indians in unsettled 
parts of the territory of Quintana Roo, 2,000 miles dis- 
tant from Sonora, discourages enterprise in that fertile 
extremity of the Southeast. 

For a full generation President Diaz has endeavored 
to end predatory warfare in these two remote regions, 
only to be disappointed by repeated treacheries and bar- 
barities, and to be compelled again and again to resort 

403 



DIAZ, MASTER OF MEXICO 

to military force. Yet the energy of the government 
in dealing with these incorrigible enemies of progress and 
development has been cruelly misrepresented. 

One of the most atrocious falsehoods spread abroad 
by the foes of the Mexican Government is the statement 
that actual human slavery, open and recognized, exists 
in various parts of the republic, particularly in Yuca- 
tan. The author of this book has taken pains to in- 
vestigate the hideous tales, in which the tortures of 
the slaves are set forth; the whipping to death of 
men unwilling or unable to work; the wholesale and 
undisguised debauchery of their wives and daughters; 
the misery and horror of servile life on the great hene- 
quen, or hemp, plantations; the connivance of the courts 
and executive officials respecting the vast scene of bond- 
age, brutality, injustice, and even deliberate murder ex- 
isting before their eyes; and the gross and open immoral- 
ity of the wealthy ruling families. Many weeks were 
spent in Yucatan, both with the planters themselves and 
among the workers in the fields, both Mayas and Yaquis. 
To test the nature of the work the author actually labored 
in the fields, cutting henequen with his own hands un- 
der the noonday tropical sun, and carrying the heavy 
bundles of leaves on his back to the appointed places, 
having a companion keep time with a watch and count 
the number of leaves cut in a given period by one whose 
hands and muscles were soft, and who was unaccustomed 
either to the work or the climate. 

The truth is that the sensational writers and their 
revolutionary accomplices who have thrilled the unin- 
formed American and British peoples with stories of 
slavery in Yucatan, and have pictured the capture of 
honest and patriotic Yaqui populations in oppressed So- 
nora and their deportation to Yucatan, where they were 

404 



THE REAL MEXICAN PROBLEM 

sold into slavery, to be worked to death among the trem- 
bling and beaten Maya slaves of the country, have mixed 
up two questions in their desire to wrong the Mexican 
name, and have invented much of the rest. 

The 'Yaqui trouble is a military question pure and 
simple, while the so-called debt servitude practiced among 
the Mayas on the henequen plantations is a feature, not 
of slavery, but of peonage, the result of patriarchal con- 
ditions and habits many centuries old. 

It is undeniable that there are many evils attendant 
on this custom of allowing, or enticing, henequen workers 
to go heavily in debt to their employers, and that here 
and there a planter takes advantage of his power and 
isolated position to be cruel or unjust; yet, taken large 
and small, the conditions of labor in Yucatan are not 
much worse than they were in some of the coal fields of 
Pennsylvania under the old company-store system. 

The Yaqui tribes and their allies, who inhabit the 
southern half of the state of Sonora, along the shores 
of the Yaqui and Mayo rivers, were never subdued, nor 
did they submit to the laws and constituted authorities 
either of the Spanish Government at the time of Span- 
ish dominion or of the Mexican Government after- 
wards. The armed forces repeatedly sent against them 
were never able to overcome them decisively. After they 
were defeated by the expeditions which undertook to 
pacify them, the various governments always were satis- 
fied with the protestations of peace which the tribes then 
made and withdrew their troops to other parts where 
they might be needed. 

The Indians remained at peace only for brief spells. 
There was no force within their territory to inspire them 
with awe and no authority save that of their chiefs, and 
they soon returned to the warpath and raided the neigh- 

405 



.DIAZ, MASTER OF MEXICO 

boring townlets -and villages, burning, murdering, and 
robbing as they proceeded. Then the government was 
again compelled to take the field against them and keep 
up the fighting until they sued for peace. The with- 
drawal of the troops would be followed by a short period 
of relative quiet, again interrupted by uprisings, incen- 
diarisms, assassinations, and thefts. 

The ideal of the Yaquis has been to maintain their 
absolute independence in a certain territory which they 
considered as their own. They did not willingly permit 
the intervention of the national government, nor of the 
state government, nor submission to any of the laws and 
regulations obeyed by all other citizens. They insisted 
upon having their own government, carried on by their 
chiefs, under their whimsical, unwritten laws, without 
respect for anything else. For a time the Yaquis and 
their allies maintained this independent status under the 
terrible chief Cajeme, who armed and equipped 5,000 
men to maintain their independence and fight the Mex- 
ican Government to the last extremity. But in time 
Cajeme's forces were overcome in the field and he was 
executed for his barbarous crimes. 

The Indians along the Mayo River submitted to the 
government, and the flourishing condition of their region 
to-day shows how wisely and generously the republic has 
dealt with them. For a time, too, the Yaquis pretended 
to submit, and freely accepted the food, clothing, ani- 
mals, agricultural implements, and seeds distributed 
among them by the Mexican Government in the hope 
that they might begin a new life along peaceful, pro- 
ductive lines. Yet, after two years, the Yaquis arose 
suddenly along the whole river. They attacked the Fed- 
eral troops, religious orders of both sexes, and slew all 
the whites they caught, with the exception of the nuns. 

406 



THE REAL MEXICAN PROBLEM 

Then ensued another horrible period of savage raiding, 
after which the Indians were driven to their mountains. 
The government troops drove them from their strong- 
holds, and for a time there seemed to be peace. Again 
there was another outburst of massacres and burnings. 
The Indians no longer fought in large bodies. They 
sprang forth in small parties all over the state. All 
travelers were mercilessly butchered. Towns, villages, 
mines, and lumber camps were forsaken. 

In 1906 the situation in Sonora had become intol- 
erable. The development of the great state was impos- 
sible while the Yaquis continued to assert their prepos- 
terous claim of independence and perpetuate a reign of 
murder, plunder, and incendiarism. Capital and enter- 
prise stood ready to enter Sonora. All that was needed 
was peace. 

President Diaz was confronted with but two alter- 
natives: either the Yaquis must be exterminated or they 
must be deported to some other region. All attempts 
to conciliate the tribe had failed. Thereupon the Pres- 
ident had 5,000 or 6,000 Yaquis taken by force to dis- 
tant Yucatan, where labor was in great demand on the 
henequen plantations, and where they were distributed 
as laborers among such planters as would be likely to 
prevent any of them from returning to Sonora. This 
stern, but comparatively merciful, policy has practically 
settled the fearful Yaqui question, and to-day a thou- 
sand new forces of productive civilization are at work 
in Sonora. 

In Yucatan the deported Yaquis are really prisoners 
of war. There is no pretense that they are free. They 
are not allowed to have arms, nor can they go back to 
their beloved native state in the Northwest. In all other 
respects they have the same rights and liberties as the 
27 47 



DIAZ, MASTER OF MEXICO 

natives of Yucatan, and they receive the same pay for 
the same work. 

A careful investigation by the author revealed the 
fact that the laborers on the henequen plantations sel- 
dom, if ever, work more than eight hours a day cutting 
or cleaning henequen. On some of the plantations it 
was found that the work in the fields averaged about 
four hours a day. 

There was no sign of fear or enslavement about the 
workers in the country. They held their heads up, smiled, 
and looked their employers in the face like any other 
workmen. .Their women and children, almost without 
exception, wore fine gold chains, some of them display- 
ing jewelry amounting in value to several hundred 
dollars. They have plenty of arms and ammunition. 
Six guns were counted in a single cabin. An investiga- 
tion of the sales made by dealers in arms showed that 
about 4,000 guns were sold every year to the Indians 
on the henequen estates, and that, counting the average 
life of these cheap weapons, there are always 8,000 guns 
distributed among the- Yucatan Indians, to say nothing 
of the universal machete. It surely needs no argument 
to convince a fair-minded man that it is impossible to 
make slaves of an armed people. 

There is every evidence that the henequen planters 
of Yucatan are, as a rule, men of humanity and justice. 
Most of them supply rent-free houses to their laborers, 
furnish medical service and medicines without charge, 
distribute clothing freely, and make generous donations 
of food. There were many cases found in which planters 
had spent hundreds of dollars on hospital service for in- 
dividual laborers or their wives or children. Nor could the 
most persistent search among the laborers or their fami- 
lies reveal a single instance in which a man was whipped 

408 



THE REAL MEXICAN PROBLEM 

for refusing to work. Even the Yaquis, who were se- 
cretly questioned, denied any knowledge of the brutalities 
described by sensational writers; their only complaint 
being that they were not allowed to return to Sonora. 

The statement that actual slavery exists in Yucatan 
a charge that cannot be ignored in a biography of 
Porfirio Diaz is a falsehood easily disproved by a visit 
to that wonderful country. The Indian and half-breed 
population is cleanly and extremely virtuous. It is amaz- 
ing that anyone should impute immorality to such an 
admirable people. Nor are there more kindly, hospitable, 
graceful, and modest women in the world than the wives 
and daughters of the planters. The attacks upon the 
homes and social life of the white people of the penin- 
sula are utterly malicious. 

One of the greatest statesmen in the republic is Don 
Olegario Molina, the so-called " henequen king " of 
Yucatan. After he had organized the henequen indus- 
try and, as governor of Yucatan, had turned the city 
of Merida from a filthy hole, infected with disease, into 
a beautiful, well-paved, wholesome, modern city, filled 
with hospitals, asylums, and schools an absolute miracle 
in its way President Diaz, who had gone to Yucatan 
to personally see the wonderful result, took Sefior Mo- 
lina into his Cabinet as Secretary of the Department of 
Fomento (promotion and encouragement of public works, 
agriculture, mining, colonization, etc. ) . It is this strong- 
willed man who is safeguarding the water resources of 
Mexico for irrigation works, the supreme physical need 
of a more or less rainless country. 

After many years of painful and sometimes discour- 
aging effort, the extremities of Mexico Yucatan and 
Sonora are now rivaling the great central states in 
energy, prosperity, and loyalty. 

409 



CHAPTER XXXV 

WILL THE MEXICAN REPUBLIC STAND? 

PRESIDENT DIAZ has planned several times to retire 
to private life, in order that Mexico might begin to 
change her presidents peacefully while he was yet alive 
to support his successors against any attempt to revert to 
revolution. 

At every suggestion that he might withdraw from the 
presidency he has been overwhelmed with protests and 
appeals. There can be no doubt that, in spite of his 
wonderful vigor, increasing age has made it harder to 
bear the burdens of office, particularly as his authority 
has become greater and more direct than that of any 
monarch in the world, and he cannot rid himself of the 
habit of attending to all important things himself. He 
has longed to lay down his work and rest. All his asso- 
ciates and intimates know this. Yet the pressure exerted 
to persuade him to remain at his post of duty a pres- 
sure not only from his own countrymen, but from the 
friends and connections of Mexico in all countries has 
been more than he could resist ; and even in his eightieth 
year he accepted another six-year term of hard service. 

More than once the President has had striking evi- 
dence of what his retirement to private life would mean 
to the public credit of his country. In 1901 he suffered 
from a slight illness, and went to the softer climate of 
Cuernavaca to recuperate. A prominent banker of Mex- 

410 



WILL THE REPUBLIC STAND? 

ico City visited him, and, on returning to the capital, 
privately caused the newspapers to be informed that Diaz 
was stricken with a mortal illness and would not re- 
cover. This news was cabled to all parts of the world. 
Instantly the price of Mexican bonds fell in the markets 
of Europe and America from $101 to $78, a A loss of 
$23. A week later the President returned to the capital 
in good health and spirits, and when word went forth 
that he was in no danger of dying, the price of Mexican 
bonds promptly went back to $100. Incidents like this, 
showing what a shock to the public confidence would 
be involved in his withdrawal from the presidency, have 
prevailed against Diaz's natural desire to retire from the 
continuous toil and responsibility of his office. And, 
even after he had restored peace and the national credit, 
each time he considered the question of giving up the 
presidency he found himself confronted with some great 
work of improvement unfinished : the vast system for the 
drainage of the Valley of Mexico; the reorganization 
of the army; the Tehuantepec interoceanic railway; the 
paving, lighting, and water supply of the capital, and 
the like; not to mention the revelations of incompe- 
tency of those who might be expected to spring into 
power on his retirement and the obviously corrupt 
groups eager to turn the government to their personal 
advantage. 

Before the immediate approach of the presidential 
campaign of 1904, President Diaz announced his inten- 
tion of retiring to private life, and, with a solemn real- 
ization of the great questions of economic development 
upon which the continued peace and happiness of Mexico 
must largely depend, he urged Don Jose Yves Liman- 
tour, the distinguished Secretary of Finance, to be his 
successor, promising to support his candidacy. For the 

411 



DIAZ, MASTER OF MEXICO 

first time a Vice "President was to be elected. Senor 
Limantour, an administrative statesman of the highest 
order, was wholly without political ambition. He ex- 
plained to the President that he did not feel himself 
to be fitted for political leadership, and particularly in- 
sisted that he had no popularity among military men. 

The President thereupon called General Bernardo 
Reyes, a popular officer, to him, and explained the rea- 
sons why, in his judgment, Senor Limantour should be- 
come President. General Reyes declared that he agreed 
in the wisdom of selecting the foremost economic thinker 
and administrator of the republic to guide its -policies, 
and offered to make his qualities and character better 
understood in the army and to win over the military 
elements to his support. 

General Reyes was then taken into the President's 
Cabinet as Minister of War. Hardly had he assumed his 
new duties when mysterious and malicious attacks upon 
Senor Limantour began to appear in various newspapers. 
These anonymous slanders became more and more per- 
sonal and bitter. It was evident that some mind was 
directing a systematic and malignant attempt to discredit 
the man who had been chosen by the President as his 
successor. 

A Reyes movement had sprung up, but General Reyes 
had given his word to support the President in his desire 
to see Senor Limantour succeed to the presidency. Diaz 
refused to believe that so gallant a soldier could be guilty 
of such treachery. The President was deeply distressed. 
Senor Limantour had rendered supremely great services 
to his country, and it was a public calamity that he 
should be discredited in the eyes of the ignorant masses. 
Efforts were made to discover the source of these attacks, 
but in vain. The secret was well guarded. 

412 



WILL THE REPUBLIC STAND? 

Finally there came into the hands of the government 
some of the original manuscript of the denunciations of 
the Secretary of Finance, and it disclosed the fact that 
General Reyes was the hidden enemy who had sought 
to defeat the President's plan while still a member of his 
Cabinet. Diaz at once sent for the conspirator, and con- 
fronted him with the evidence of his perfidy. General 
Reyes promptly resigned his office. Instead of driving 
Reyes into private life, the President, in consideration 
of his former record as a soldier, used his influence to 
make him governor of the state of Nuevo Leon. 

In 1908 President Diaz stirred the republic from 
frontier to frontier by publicly declaring that he would 
refuse another term of office. He invited the nation to 
prepare to choose his successor, deplored the fact that 
his countrymen in general did not take a sufficient in- 
terest in government, admitted the undesirability of hav- 
ing only one active political party in the country, and 
welcomed the appearance of an opposition party with a 
genuine national programme. 

Almost instantly there was political commotion in 
every state. Thousands of protests rained in on the 
President. Delegations came from states, cities, and vil- 
lages, begging him to continue his great work for Mex- 
ico. The representatives of most of the large commercial 
bodies in the country appealed to him to change his mind. 
His old friends and supporters reproached him for think- 
ing of deserting them. From other countries came warn- 
ings that he was about to put the public credit of his 
country to a terrific strain in the wake of a worldwide 
financial panic. 

Then it appeared that the new party which his words 
had called into life was simply a noisy, turbulent, and 
slanderous demonstration in favor of General Reyes for 

413 



DIAZ, MASTER OF MEXICO 

the office of Vice* President. In the teeth of these facts 
Diaz gave up his cherished plan for rest, agreed to stand 
again for the presidency, and openly frowned on the 
Reyes movement, which collapsed after a few riotous 
incidents. Reyes himself was not held to a too strict 
responsibility for the bombastic revolutionary utterances 
of his followers and associates, nor for the campaign of 
vilification which they started in the United States. The 
President sent him on a foreign mission to gather mili- 
tary information. The would-be revolutionists who had 
carried on their propaganda under his name loudly com- 
plained that their leader and hero had been exiled. 

Even then President Diaz would have retired could 
he have persuaded Seiior Limantour to succeed him. 

The next president of Mexico will probably be Vice 
President Ramon Corral. This vigorous and intelligent 
statesman, who is also Secretary of the Interior, does 
not owe his right of succession to the presidency to the 
interference of Diaz, but rather to his own keen political 
ability and activity. He is a power in Sonora and the 
Northwest, as well as in the capital. He was a miner, 
then a journalist and soldier. In time he was elected 
governor of Sonora. Then he became governor of the 
Federal District. In 1904 he was elected Vice President 
of Mexico. Sefior Corral has strong friends and bitter 
enemies. As Secretary of the Interior he has done much 
to aid President Diaz in adjusting the relations of the 
states to the national government, and, in spite of much 
abuse, he has won the confidence of Mexican business 
men. His election as Vice President in 1904, and again 
in 1910, shows the increasing freedom of political events 
in the republic, for nothing is more easily demonstrable 
than that President Diaz consented to this choice of a 
successor simply because Sefior Corral had shown him- 

414 



WILL THE REPUBLIC STAND? 

self to be politically stronger than any of his rivals for 
the vice presidency. 

There are those who insist that when President Diaz 
dies there will come a general and destructive upheaval 
in Mexico. They argue that it is his strength and skill 
and the hold which he has on the confidence of the Mex- 
ican people that preserves the peace in the republic, and 
that as soon as he passes away the nation will be thrown 
into widespread conditions of confusion and conflict. 

The trouble with this alarming theory is that it is 
usually advanced by agitators who have denounced Diaz 
as a military despot, and who, at the same time, in their 
desire to make the future look black, declare that the 
people have confidence in him, but will trust no one else 
with such power as he has wielded. 

In his white old age the master of Mexico has deeply 
studied the future of his country. It has been his con- 
stant thought. He has made his life a bridge through 
which his people have passed from chaos, poverty, and 
degradation into peace and stability. Looking to the 
days that are to come, he has drawn into the support 
of the government elements which were at war for half 
a century. Although the letter of the law grinds cruelly 
in its details on the Church, the policy of executing it 
has been one of humane consideration. One finds Arch- 
bishop Gillow, of Oaxaca, and other prelates praising 
the President for doing the best he can to protect the 
Church in peacefully prosecuting its religious work. Yet 
no one is sterner in his determination to keep ecclesiastics 
from intruding again into the politics of the republic. 
The brilliant and progressive governor of the Federal 
District is Don Guillermo Lauda, a devoted churchman 
and representative of one of the richest and most intense 
Catholic families in Mexico. Although Diaz helped to 

415 



DIAZ, MASTER OF MEXICO 

break the ecclesiastical tyranny in the country, he has 
encouraged the old Catholic aristocracy to assist in mak- 
ing the republic a means through which all races and 
religions may work peacefully for the general uplift and 
security. He has said that no nation can succeed with- 
out religion, but he insists that the activities of the priest 
shall be confined to the religious and moral domain of 
the Church and not be entangled with politics and gov- 
ernment. He is not an enemy of religion, but a deter- 
mined opponent of church interference in secular affairs. 
When a Mexican census taker asked him what his reli- 
gion was, he said : 

" I, Porfirio Diaz, as a private citizen, profess the 
faith of my parents, Roman Catholic Apostolic; but I, 
Porfirio Diaz, President of the United Mexican States, 
do not profess any faith, as I am not permitted by the 
Constitution to do so." 

So intelligently has he attracted the leading church 
families either to serve the republic or to support it, 
that it is wholly improbable, quite aside from the restric- 
tions of the Constitution, that Mexico will ever again 
be divided in arms on the church question. There are 
about 4,000 Catholic churches in the states and territories 
of Mexico, with more than 6,000 priests and 7,000,000 
active members, of whom some 3,000,000 are children. 
No one interferes, and no one thinks of interfering, with 
their freedom of worship. 

With the old specter of armed ecclesiasticism laid in 
its grave, it is preposterous to talk about a reversion of 
the Mexican people to the old revolutionary habit. Diaz^j 
has done his work well. He has held his countrymen Vi| 
still, by harshness and force when necessary, until the 
15,000 miles of railways, the 20,000 miles of telegraphs 

416 



WILL THE REPUBLIC STAND? 

and telephones, the $454,910,775 of annual foreign com- 
merce, the $160,232,876 of yearly mining products, the 
immense growth of manufactures and of agriculture rep- 
resenting hundreds of millions of dollars of Mexican and 
foreign capital, the great chain of solvent banks, the 
12,599 schools, with their 15,000 professors and teach- 
ers, and all the thousand productive results of continued 
peace, have made civil war unattractive to any important 
of numerous part of the nation. 

The Mexican people are too busy to fight each other 
now. They know that the influence of the railways alone 
has not only made commerce and industry possible, but 
that the wages of agricultural labor have practically 
doubled since Diaz gave the signal for a general rail- 
way development in the republic. They also know that 
even the humblest business man can borrow money at 
rates undreamed of in the old days of imaginative de- 
mocracy and anarchy. Life and property are safe. 
The poorest peon understands that what he can earn 
he can keep. The vast system of hospitals, asylums, 
libraries, museums, and schools daily preach the gospel 
of peace. 

Not only are there colleges in the various states, but 
in the Federal District are to be found doors of oppor- 
tunity opened in the National Preparatory College, the 
National College of Jurisprudence, the National Medical 
College, the National School of Engineers, the National 
College of Agriculture and Veterinary Surgery, the High 
School of Commerce and Administration, the National 
School of Fine Arts, the National Conservatory of Music 
and Declamation, the National School of Arts and Trades 
for Men, the School of Arts and Trades for Girls, 
the Normal College for Men, the Normal College for 
Women, and other important institutions. 

417 



DIAZ, MASTER OF MEXICO 

There is great poverty in the republic, and that in 
itself has been held up as a reproach to the policy of 
building a $10,000,000 national opera house in the beau- 
tiful capital of Mexico; but it would be unfair to con- 
sider this criticism without also taking into account the 
wonderful general hospital and other humane institutions 
established in Mexico City and its suburbs before the 
opera house was even thought of. 

The Belem prison, which is the general jail of deten- 
tion in the capital, is unspeakably filthy, crowded, and 
often infected with disease. It is an open shame to the 
authorities. However, the penitentiary of the Federal 
District is perhaps the most perfect and well-managed 
institution of its kind in the world. The horrors of the 
Belem jail are a survival of Mexico's dark days; still, the 
government has planned a commodious modern structure 
to take the place of the old convent which has served 
so long as an example of Mexican misrule. 

It is undeniable that President Diaz has the power 
of an autocrat; but that power grew out of the necessi- 
ties of the Mexican nation. His rule has not been always 
government by the people, but it has invariably been 
government for the people. He has made the executive 
authority supreme and practically irresistible in what is 
theoretically a government of balanced powers, and his 
astonishing prestige and popularity, both as soldier and 
statesman, have converted popular elections into virtual 
ratifications of his known opinions and wishes. Yet even 
his bitterest foes have not suggested that he has shown 
the faintest inclination to bring about a hereditary per- 
petuation of his rule. His son, Colonel Porfirio Diaz, 
Jr., an able and successful engineer-architect, earns his 
income as a private citizen, and has not been encouraged 
to seek political promotion; and his charming wife and 

418 



WILL THE REPUBLIC STAND? 

daughters are among the most retiring of Mexican 
women. He has had to govern sometimes by sheer 
strength, but he has really governed and he is still a 
comparatively poor man; and he has kept the Constitu- 
tion unchanged for the future, when the Mexican people 
will be ready for the heavy burdens of individual respon- 
sibility which it confers. 

In the great hymn of victory which burst from the 
lips of the republic and its friends in the celebration of 
the centennial anniversary of Mexican independence in 
1910, President Diaz was the subject of many eulogies, 
but none of them compared with the tribute paid to him 
two years before by Elihu Root, the Secretary of State 
of the United States, when he said: 

" It has seemed to me that of all the men now living, 
General Porfirio Diaz, of Mexico, was best worth seeing. 
Whether one considers the adventurous, daring, chival- 
ric incidents of his early career; whether one considers 
the vast work of government which his wisdom and cour- 
age and commanding character accomplished; whether 
one considers his singularly attractive personality, no one 
lives to-day that I would rather see than President Diaz. 
If I were a poet, I would write poetic eulogies. If I 
were a musician, I would write triumphal marches. If 
I were a Mexican, I should feel that the steadfast loyalty 
of a lifetime could not be too much in return for the 
blessings that he had brought to my country. As I am 
neither poet nor Mexican, but only an American who 
loves justice and liberty, and hopes to see their reign 
among mankind progress and strengthen and become 
perpetual, I look to Porfirio Diaz, the President of Mex- 
ico, as one of the great men to be held up for the hero- 
worship of mankind." 

In the light of such a life it is not surprising that 
President Taft broke all precedents in 1909 by crossing 

419 



DIAZ, MASTER OF MEXICO 

the Mexican frontier to shake hands with the greatest 
man of the American continent, whom President Roose- 
velt described as " the greatest statesman now living " ; 
nor is it matter for wonder that -Mexico was the only ; 
Latin-American nation invited to take part in the famous 
international Hague conference for the conservation of 
the peace of the world; or that the republic, under the 
direction of President Diaz, maintains such admirable 
relations with other nations that it has not been found 
necessary to build up a Mexican navy. 



Many great nations have hung their decorations on 
his breast, beside the medals won on Mexican battlefields. 
Statesmen and authors in all countries have praised his 
work. Emperors, kings, and presidents have paid open 
tribute to his strength and wisdom. His country hums 
with the new life awakened by his courage and energy. 
But as he paces the terrace of Chapultepec Castle, high 
above the ancient rock and the towering cypresses that 
once knew Montezuma and his blood-stained priests, 
there can be no simpler, no manlier figure than the white- 
haired President. 

Looking out from the flowery steeps at his feet over 
the wonderful valley within whose ring of mountains 
the stately Mexican capital stands in sight of snow- 
crowned, dead volcanoes eloquent of Mexico's distant, 
troubled past across the old, thrilling scenes of beauty 
in which so many heroes, martyrs, traitors, and buf- 
foons have played their parts, he sums up his knowledge 
of mankind in a few words: 

420 



WILL THE REPUBLIC STAND? 

" Men are much the same all over the world, and na- 
tions are like men. They must be carefully studied and 
their motives understood. A just government is nothing 
more than the collective ambitions of a people expressed 
in practical form. True statecraft is a study of the in- 
dividual man. It is the same everywhere. The individual 
always has a personal motive in supporting his govern- 
ment. The ambition may be good or otherwise, but, at 
the bottom, it is personal. The beginning of real gov- 
ernment is the discovery of what that motive really is, 
and statesmanship should seek, not to defeat, but to 
regulate, the gratification of individual ambition. It has 
been my aim to do that in dealing with my countrymen, 
who are a gentle, affectionate, and grateful people, fol- 
lowing their hearts oftener than their heads. I have 
tried to know what the individual wants and expects. 
Even in his worship of God a man looks for some re- 
turn, and how can human society expect to find any- 
thing higher in its members ? Experience has taught me 
that progressive government should try to gratify indi- 
vidual ambition as much as possible, but that it must 
provide an extinguisher to be used when individual am- 
bition burns too fiercely for the general good. 

" Mexico was once without a middle class, but she 
has one now. The middle class is always the active ele- 
ment of society. The rich are too much devoted to their 
possessions and their social rank to help much in the 
general progress, and their children make little effort to 
improve themselves. The very poor, as a rule, are too 
ignorant to exert power. A democracy must be worked 
out by the middle class, drawn largely from the poor, but 
somewhat from the rich, the energetic, striving, self-im- 
proving middle class, which sincerely takes an interest 
in politics and the general welfare. 

" It is a great comfort to me in my old age to feel 
that the future of Mexico is secure at last." 



INDEX 



Abdication of Maximilian, 231, 
243, 250, 287. 

Acultzingo, battle of, 139. 

Agriculture during Spanish 
rule, 26. 

Aguirre, 310. 

Alatorre appeals to troops to 
stand with Juarez against 
Diaz, 320; defeated by Diaz 
at Tecoac, 343; Rocha and, 
sent by Juarez against Oax- 
aca, 319. 

Alcabalas, abolition of, 390. 

Almonte, 112; arrives in Vera 
Cruz, 135 ; master of ceremo- 
nies under Maximilian, 180; 
proclaims himself President, 
140. 

Altamirano, 116. 

Alvarez, 56; as President, 63; 
Diaz casts vote for, 59; op- 
poses Diaz government, 359; 
resigns from Presidency, 67. 

American man-of-war visits 
Ventoso, 92; naval officers en- 
tertained at Tehuantepec, 93 ; 
railway question, 354. 

Anglo-Saxon institutions tried, 
12. 

Antillon supports Iglesias as 
president against Lerdo, 343. 

Aragon, 59, 60, 61. 

Arista as President, 55. 



Armament cargo, conduction of, 
from Minatitlan to Ventoso, 
93- 

Army disbanded by Juarez, 300; 
of East, new, 223 ; of Reor- 
ganization, 331 ; privileges of, 
abolition of, 66. 

Arroyo insists upon execution 
of Diaz, 337. 

Arteaga, 2; defeated at El 
Chiflon, 191 ; defeated at Ma- 
joma, 191 ; defeated by Men- 
dez at Santa Anna Amatlan, 
228; evacuates Guadalajara, 
190; force of, disbands, 191; 
joins Juarez, 190; joins Re- 
gules and Palacio, 191 ; shot 
by Maximilian's decree, 228. 

Assembly of notables, 172, 173. 

Assassinations at Tehuantepec, 
96. 

Atlixco, battle of, 226. 

Austria and United States, 230. 

Avendafio, 87. 

Ayotla, Diaz at, 168. 

Ayutla revolt against Santa 
Anna, 56. 

Aztecs, Cortes's conquest of, 21 ; 
origin, 16. 

Ballesteros, governor of Oax- 
aca, 187; transferred to Con- 
vent de la Compafiia, 212; 



423 



INDEX 



transferred to Santa Catarina 
convent, 211. 

Banca Minera, 387. 

Bandits, summary execution of, 
33> 3 J 3J summary execution 
of, under Diaz, 346. 

Bank of London, Mexico, and 
South America, 386. 

Banking systems, 386. 

Bankruptcy, Diaz saves Mexico 
from, 370. 

Banks of Mexico, 386; specific 
functions of, 388. 

Barrios's attempt to become dic- 
tator of Central American 
republics, 378. 

Battalion Morelos, 141. 

Battle, Diaz's first, 61 ; of Acult- 
zingo, 139; of Atlixco, 226; 
of Calpulalpam, 113; of Chi- 
huahua, 324; of El Tablon, 
240; of Escamela, 138; of 
Etla, 204; of Fifth of May, 
140, 143; of Icamole, 334; of 
Ixcapa, 74; of Jalapa, 85; of 
Jalatlaco, 119; of Jamiltepec, 
226; of La Bufa, 324; of La 
Carbonera, 238 ; of Los Jica- 
ras ranch, 86; of Matamoras, 
333; of Miahuatlan, 234; of 
Mineral del Monte, 124; of 
Mixtequilla, 89; of Oaxaca in 
1860, 99, 102; of Oaxaca in 
1866, 234, 259; of Oaxaca un- 
der Governor Ordoz, 81 ; of 
Pachuca, 124; of Puebla, 140, 
143; of San Domingo del 
Valle, 101 ; of San Mateo 
Sindihui, 320; of Tacubaya, 
108; of Tecoac, 343; of Teo- 
tongo, 6 1 ; of Tlacolula, 99 ; 
of Tlapa, 225; of Tulcingo, 
224. 



Baz emissary to tempt Diaz, 271. 

Bazaine, 171 ; captures Oaxaca, 
207; commands against Diaz 
at Oaxaca, 204; continues 
conquest, 182; departs with 
troops, 251 ; Diaz and, meet 
at Montoya, 208; occupies 
Guadalajara, 190; pursues 
Diaz after escape, 224; Diaz 
surrenders to, at Oaxaca, 207 ; 
tempts Diaz, 252; tries to dis- 
credit Juarez, 253. 

Belize, British authority con- 
firmed in, 363. 

Benitez defends Diaz in Con- 
gress of 1861, 122; secretary 
of Oaxaca, 186; transferred 
to Convent de la Compania, 
212; transferred to Santa 
Catarina convent, 211. 

Bernard abandons Tlapa, 225. 

Berriozabal escapes from French 
after Puebla, 167; evacuates 
Morelia, 189; Minister of 
War, 170. 

Bishops, salaries of, 41. 

Black Decree, 227, 267. 

Bleichroeder loan, 378. 

Boca del Rio reached by Diaz 
on return from United States, 

341- 

Bonds, during Gonzalez's ad- 
ministration, 371 ; value of, 
370, 382. 

Bourbourg on Diaz, 96. 

Bournof, 248. 

Bravo, 30. 

Brigandage, 302, 313, 349; after 
expulsion of French, 302, 313, 
349; of Maya Indians, 403; of 
Yaqui Indians, 403; under 
Diaz, 346, 403. 

Belem prison, 418. 



424 



INDEX 



British Honduras, confirmation 
of British authority in, 363. 

British intervention, in. 

British Legation, Miramon steals 
$660,000 from, no. 

Brownsville headquarters of 
Diaz against Lerdo, 332. 

Bullet, extraction of, from Di- 
az's wound, 93. 

Bustamente, 39. 



Cabinet of Diaz, civilians in, 
403. 

Cadena against Juarez govern- 
ment, 319; defeated by Rocha 
at Lo de Ovejo, 310; marches 
against Guadalajara, 310 ; Mar- 
tinez and, defeat Guerra at 
Villa Nueva, 311. 

Cajeme, 406. 

Cajiga resigns governorship of 
Oaxaca, 186. 

California, Diaz in, 321. 

Calpulalpam, battle of, 113. 

Calvo, Don Juan, 87. 

Canal for drainage of Valley of 
Mexico, 278, 367, 395. 

Canalize, death of, 100. 

Cannibalistic period of Mexico, 
17. 

Carbajal and Diaz, strained re- 
lations between, 120. 

Carlota goes mad, 247; inter- 
cedes with Napoleon for hus- 
band, 244, 245 ; intercedes 
with Pope for husband, 247 ; 
letter from Maximilian to, 
before execution, 291 ; sails 
for Europe to intercede for 
husband, 244, 245. 

Carpintero defeated by Diaz at 
Pixtala, 223. 



Ceballos defeats revolutionists, 
320. 

Central American republics, Bar- 
rios's attempt at dictatorship 
of, 378. 

Chapultepec Castle mortgaged, 
373- 

Character of Mexicans, 397; 
study of Diaz, 2, 43, 277, 420. 

Chavarrie rebels against Juarez, 
316. 

Chiapas freed from Mexican 
traitors, 187. 

Chihuahua, battle of, 324; Diaz 
returns to, to take command 
of revolutionary army, 324; 
Juarez returns to, 231 ; seat of 
Juarez government, 191. 

Cholulans, massacre of, 23. 

Christianization of Mexico, 24. 

Church as money-lender, 27 ; 
demands ignored by Maxi- 
milian, 183 ; privileges of, abo- 
lition of, 66; property, sale 
of, 69; under Diaz rule, 415; 
wealth of, in 1833, 4 1 - 

Church and State, death grap- 
ple between, 56, 106. 

City of Havana carries Diaz to 
Mexico, 335. 

City of Mexico, Diaz's entrance 
into, 294; Diaz's entrance into, 
after Lerdo's flight, 344; falls 
to Diaz, 283 ; home of Diaz, 
368; occupied by Liberals, 
113, 114; rebels against Jua- 
rez, 316; siege of, by Diaz, 
270. 

Civil war, 37; in United States, 
cost of, 213; in United States, 
Mexico and, 129, 137; on 
threshold of, 63. 

Civilians in Diaz Cabinet, 403. 



425 



INDEX 



Civilizations of America, an- 
cient, origin of, 16. 

Clerical party, origin of, 39. 

Clothes-press on vessel, Diaz 
hides in, 338, 339. 

Coast improvements under Diaz, 

385. 
Cobos defeated by Felix Diaz at 

La Seda, 104. 
Cobos brothers, 80; captured 

Tehuantepec, 94; defeated at 

San Domingo del Valle, 101 ; 

defeated by Diaz, 84, 85; 

Diaz's assault on stronghold 

of, 84 ; Diaz's service against, 

81. 
Commerce of Mexico abroad, 

383- 

Comonfort, i ; as substitute 
President, 67; flight of, 77; 
murder of, 185 ; Puebla's re- 
lief by, 162, 165; reflected 
President, 76; treason of, 76. 

Conchado, 80; at Tehuantepec, 
86; death of, 86. 

Congress after expulsion of 
French, 306, 307; of 1861, 115; 
of 1870, Diaz deputy in, 314; 
of 1874, Diaz deputy to, 329. 

Conservative party, origin of, 

39- 

Conspiracy in Convent of San 
Francisco, 76. 

Constitution, amendment to, for- 
bidding President to succeed 
himself, 353 ; amendment to, 
permitting President to suc- 
ceed himself, 379; of 1857, 70. 

Constitutional government, adop- 
tion of, 31. 

Constructive programme added 
to Plan of Tuxtepec, 332. 

Convent de la Compania, Diaz 



transferred from Santa Cata- 
rina to, 212. 

Corella conquers insurgents, 311. 

Corona and Escobedo besiege 
Queretaro, 258. 

Corona in Simaloa, 191. 

Corral, 414; next President, 414 ; 
Secretary of Interior, 414. 

Cortes's battle with Tlascalans, 
23; defeat of Cuauhtemoc, 
24; invasion of Mexico, 9,21. 

Cosio, prisoner of French, 166. 

Cotton mills, 386. 

Count de Regla, 26. 

Creel, 387; starts bank, 387. 

Criminal methods of Clericals, 
no. 

Croix's proclamation to Mexi- 
cans, 27. 

Csismadia, 213. 

Cuauhtemoc, 24. 

Custom houses, inland, abolition 
of, 390; mortgages on, 372. 



Dano ordered imprisoned by 
Juarez, 298. 

Debt servitude, 405. 

Degollado, 108; death of, 114; 
disgraces Liberal Cause, 112. 

Del Barrio on Carlota's jour- 
ney to Paris to intercede, 245. 

Diana bugle-flourish, 83. 

Diaz, Bernal, description of 
teocali by, 19. 

Diaz, Jose de la Cruz, 33, 34. 

Diaz, Porfirio, administrating 
ability of, 296; at Institute of 
Arts and Sciences, 46, 49; 
autocratic rule of, 396, 418; 
Berlin portfolio offered to, by 
Lerdo, 329; birth of, 32; 
birthplace of, 35; boyhood 



426 



INDEX 



of, 32; brigadier-general, 119; 
brigadier-general against Na- 
poleon's invaders, 137; briga- 
dier - general in permanent 
army, 164; cabinet member 
under Gonzalez, 366; candi- 
date for President against 
Juarez, 315; captain in Na- 
tional Guard, 73 ; character 
of, as boy, 43, 44; chief of 
staff at Pachiica, 124; colo- 
nel in National Guard, 95; 
colonel in regular army, 104; 
commander in chief of Army 
of Reorganization, 331 ; Con- 
gressman, 115, 314, 329; death 
of, probable results of, 415; 
decides between law or priest- 
hood, 43; deputy to Congress 
of 1861, 115; deputy to Con- 
gress of 1870, 314; deputy to 
Congress of 1874, 3 2 9> fare- 
well address of, after first 
term as President, 366; farm- 
er, 302, 309, 325; first bat- 
tle of, 61 ; first baptism of 
blood of, 73; first command 
of, 60, 6 1 ; fortune of, 396 ; 
general, 125; general in chief, 
170; general of division, 186; 
" godfather," 342 ; governor 
of Oaxaca, 186, 367; gov- 
ernor of Tehuantepec, 85; In- 
dian and white blood in, 14; 
knowledge of mankind of, 421 ; 
Latin teaching of, 46; law 
student, 49; leaves Congress 
to return to military duties, 
119; librarian of Institute, 51; 
lieutenant-colonel, 89; love of 
country of, 75; major in Na- 
tional Guard, 86; malarial vic- 
tim at Tehuantepec, 92; mar- 



ries Senorita Carmen Rubio, 
368; marries Senorita Delfina 
Ortega y Reyes during siege 
of Mexico City, 279; military 
duties of, at Tehuacan, 301, 
305; ministry to Berlin of- 
fered by Lerdo, 329; mother 
of, dies, 88; movement for, 
330; nation's master, 346; pa- 
rentage of, 33; personality of, 
2, 277, 420; President, 7, 11, 
345. 37o; President second 
time, 376; President, wonder- 
ful results during service as, 
381 ; refuses another term, 
413; religion of, 416; resigns 
as general in chief of Army 
of East, 299 ; resigns from 
army, 308; resourcefulness of , 
in boyhood, 44; retires from 
Presidency after first term, 
365; retires to City of Mex- 
ico to live, 368; retires to 
Oaxaca as citizen, 309; re- 
trenchment of second term of, 
376; return to Chihuahua to 
take command of revolution- 
ary army, 324; return to mili- 
tary duties, leaving Congress, 
119; returns to Presidency, 
370; saviour of Marcos Perez, 
51; school fights of, 45; 
schooling of, early, 43; serv- 
ice of, to society of Mexico, 
349-352; son of, 418; states- 
manship of, 5, 349; sub-pre- 
fect of Ixtlan, 63; sugar 
grower, 326; teacher of Latin, 
46; typhus victim, 104; villi- 
fied in Congress of 1861, 
122 ; winning Presidency, 335 ; 
work of, compared to Jua- 
rez, 7. 



427 



INDEX 



Diaz, Felix, 104; against Juarez 
government, 319; defeats Co- 
bos, 104; enters Oaxaca in 
1866, 236; joins brother at 
Oaxaca in 1866, 234; Juarez 
ferments revolution against, 
319; made general, 239; mur- 
dered, 320; taken by French, 
138; takes refuge in forests, 
320. 

Diaz, Porfirio, Jr., 418. 

Domenech, on Napoleon's inva- 
sion, 141. 

Drainage canal for Valley of 
Mexico, 278, 367, 395. 

Dublan, 195. 

Dunlop, Commodore, 133. 

Ecclesiastical overthrow, 9; rule 
at time of Diaz's birth, 36. 

Ecclesiastics, refranchisement of, 
306. 

Ecuador minister, expulsion of, 
114. 

Educational work at Oaxaca, 
367; under Diaz, 388, 417. 

El Chiflon, Arteaga defeated at, 
191. 

Election ordered by Diaz, 345; 
ordered by Juarez, 305 ; post- 
poned by Juarez, 233. 

El Tablon, battle of, 240. 

English debt, Gonzalez pro- 
poses recognition of, 372, 375. 

Escamela, battle of, 138. 

Escamilla, 268. 

Escobedo calls for aid from 
Queretaro, 273 ; Corona and, 
besiege Queretaro, 258, 284; 
invades Mexico from Texas 
against Diaz, 359; made Min- 
ister of War, 332; pardoned 
by Diaz, 359; relieved by Diaz 



at Puebla, 157; takes Quere- 
taro, 276. 

Espinoza, Diaz's defeat of, at 
Mixtequilla, 89. 

Estrada, 39, 127; heads Mexi- 
can deputation to Maximilian, 
176; receives cross of Order 
of Our Lady of Guadalupe, 
179; suggests Maximilian, 174; 
traitor, 127; visits Miramar 
Castle, 174. 

Etla, battle of, 204. 

European intervention, in, 112; 
seizure of Mexican revenues, 
131. 

Execution of Maximilian, 284, 
291 ; Diaz on, 293. 

Executive ability of Diaz, 296. 

Executive officers of Mexico, 
396. 

Expulsion of clerical ministers, 
114. 

Family of Diaz, 418. 

Farias, 38. 

Fifth of May, battle of, 140, 
143- 

Finance Secretary under Diaz, 
Limantour as, 378, 381. 

Financial condition under Jua- 
rez, 312. 

Fischer, 247; intercedes with 
Diaz for Maximilian's life, 
274. 

Floating bridge from San Cris- 
tobal to Penon de los Bag- 
fios, 274. 

Floating debt, Diaz's plan to 
pay, 377- 

Foreign debts, Diaz's action on, 
377; suspension of payments 
on, 130. 

Foreign trade, 383. 



428 



INDEX 



Forey, 149; at Puebla, 151; ex- 
travagance of, 172; national 
programme of, 172. 

France, conduct of, regarding 
debt, 131, 132; United States 
and, 241 ; withdraws troops, 
229, 230, 243, 251. 

Franco, 195. 

Freemasonry, introduction of, 
40. 

French, Diaz captured by, and 
escapes from, 154; interven- 
tion, 112; invasion, 38; na- 
tional programme in Mexico, 
172. 

Friant in Maximilian's Cabinet, 
231. 

Frontier of Sonora, sale to 
United States of, 56. 

Fuero arrested by Teran, 360; 
arrives in Vera Cruz from 
New York, 360; saved from 
death by Diaz, 360; sharp- 
shooters of, captured by Na- 
ranjo, 334. 

Galland, capture of, by Diaz, 
161. 

Garcia, as foe of Liberals, 68 ; 
joined by Diaz after escape, 
222; treason of, 68. 

Garza, 169. 

God of hell, 19. 

God of war, 19. 

Gold production, 385; standard 
of currency, 390. 

Gonzalez, 83 ; administration of, 
bond issues during, 371 ; ad- 
ministration of, nickel cur- 
rency during, 371 ; adminis- 
tration of, ruinous course of, 
370; at Oaxaca, 102; attempt 
to punish, for maladminis- 



tration of, 378; financial ruin 
brought upon Mexico by, 370; 
joins Mexican forces at Pue- 
bla, 155; proposes recogni- 
tion of English debt, 372, 375 ; 
succeeds Diaz as President, 

365. 

Government of Mexico and 
United States, comparison, 18; 

Government officials of Mexico, 
396. 

Graviere, 133. 

Great Britain, conduct of, re- 
garding debt, 131, 132. 

Green jade, significance of, 14, 

15- 

Grijalva, 21. 

Guadalajara, evacuation of, by 
Juarez, 78; government seat 
of Juarez, 77; occupied by 
Bazaine, 190; recaptured by 
Liberals, 113. 

Guadalupe prisoners paroled by 
Diaz, 268. 

Guatemala minister, expulsion 
of, 114. 

Guerra against Juarez govern- 
ment, 319; defeated by Rocha 
at La Bufa, 324; killing of, 

335- 
Guerrero, i, 30; rebellion against 

Juarez, 310. 
Guerrero, Oaxaca, Mexico, and 

Queretaro, Diaz's march 

through, 185. 
Gyves, 91. 

Hague Peace conference, Mexi- 
co represented in, 420. 

Harbor improvements under 
Diaz, 385. 

Havana, Diaz in, 321. 

Hemp gathering, 404, 408, 



429 



INDEX 



"Henequen King," 409. 

Henequen planters, 408; work- 
ers, 404, 408. 

Hernandez denounces Lerdo, 
33i. 

Herrera as President, 55; Diaz 
and, 60. 

Hidalgo's insurrection, 29. 

Holmes, Motley's letter to, on 
Maximilian, 178. 

Honduras, British authority 
confirmed in, 363. 

Hotse comes to relief of Oro- 
noz at Oaxaca, 236; defeated 
at La Carbonera, 238; Diaz 
steals away from Oaxaca 
siege to strike, 237. 

Huajtiapam, Diaz flees to Vera 
Cruz from, 320; Diaz's head- 
quarters against Juarez, 319. 

Huerta, rebellion of partisans 
of, 307. 

Hugo's greeting to Benito Jua- 
rez, 4. 

Huitzilopochtli, 19. 

Humboldt on Christianization 
of Mexico, 25. 



Icamole, battle of, 334. 

Iglesias denounces Lerdo, 343; 
flees, 345; President ad inte- 
rim, 343; tries to compromise 
with Diaz, 345. 

Independence of Mexico, 29. 

Independencia crew rebels, 361. 

Indian population, origin of, 13. 

Indians, Maya, brigandage of, 
403; of Ixtlan, 64; of Juchi- 
tan, 87, 88, 90; of Juchitan, 
insubordination of, at Tlaco- 
lula, 99; of Juchitan murder 
Felix Diaz, 320; of Juchitan, 



uprising of, 90; submission 
of, to Spanish rule, 27; Ya- 
qui, 403; Yaqui, brigandage 
of, 403; Yaqui, deported to 
Yucatan, 407. 

Industry during Spanish rule, 
26. 

Inhuman decree of Maximilian, 
227, 267. 

Inland custom houses abolished, 
390. 

Inquisition, 27. 

Insolvency of Mexico, 130. 

Institute of Arts and Sciences, 
Diaz student in, 46, 49. 

Insurgents march against Gua- 
dalajara, 310. 

Interior portfolio held by Cor- 
ral, 414. 

Isthmus of Tehuantepec, rail- 
way across, 368. 

Iturbide, 29, 323. 

Ixcapa, battle of, 74; Diaz 
wounded at, 74; French de- 
feated at, 187. 

Ixtlan as government seat of 
Ordoz, 92. 

Ixtlan Indians, 64; Diaz orga- 
nizes, 64; greet Diaz on re- 
turn from United States, 341. 

Jade, green, significance of, 14, 

15- 

Jalapa, battle at, 85; Diaz at, 
149. 

Jalatlaco, battle of, 119. 

Jalisco rebellion against Lerdo, 
330. 

Jamiltepec, battle of, 226; re- 
bellion against Constitution of 

1857, 73- 

Jecker letters, seizure of, by 
Mexican soldiers, 151 ; loans 



43 



INDEX 



to Miramon, in; Napoleon's 
claim of, 132. 

Jefes politicos, 396, 402; of Te- 
huantepec, 86. 

Jimenez, 91 ; Diaz borrows sol- 
diers from, 225. 

" Joaquin Iturbide," 323. 

Joinville, 38. 

Juarez abandoned by Diaz, 302; 
as Chief Justice of Supreme 
Court, 76; as constitutional 
president, 77; as governor of 
Oaxaca, 46, 68, 69; as lawyer, 
4; at Monterey, 188; attacked 
by Congress, 116; Bazaine 
tries to discredit, before leav- 
ing for France, 253; calls for 
defense of country against 
Napoleon, 136; chaotic condi- 
tion of Mexico after victory 
of, 115; confidence of, against 
French, 162; Constitution in- 
spired by, 70; death of, 324; 
death of, National finances 
at, 326; Diaz appeals to gov- 
ernment troops to join against, 
319; Diaz chooses between 
Mexico and, 317, 318; Diaz 
denounces government of, 
317; Diaz disappears from 
sight during revolt against, 
321; Diaz envied by, 299, 311, 
312; Diaz organizes revolu- 
tion against, 319; Diaz's let- 
ter to, regarding flight to San 
Luis Potosi, 169; Diaz's meet- 
ing with, 47; Diaz's visit to, 
after Jalatlaco, 124; dismisses 
army, 300; divides republic 
into four military divisions, 
231 ; elected in 1871 illegally, 
315; entrance of, into City of 
Mexico, 114; ferments revo- 

28* 431 



lution against Felix Diaz, 319; 
flees from Zuloaga's army, 
78; flees to Chihuahua, 191; 
flees to Saltillo, 188; govern- 
ment of, recognized by. United 
States, 229, 241 ; Hugo's 
greeting to, 4; ignores Diaz's 
letters of resignation, 299; 
imprisoned by Comonfort, 76; 
imprisoned by Landa, 77; im- 
prisoned by Santa Anna, 51 ; 
issues final decrees of Laws of 
Reform, no; jealousy of, of 
Diaz, 299, 311, 312; joined by 
Arteaga, 190; joined by Pato- 
ni, 190; Law of, 67; letter 
from Maximilian to, before 
execution, 290 ; Maximilian's 
proclamation regarding flight 
of, 227 ; national expenses and 
resources under, 312; Negrete 
revolts against, 307, 310; not 
soldier, 107; opposed by Diaz 
for President, 315," orders 
Dano imprisoned, 298; orders 
election, 305; political ideal- 
ist, 302, 303 ; postpones elec- 
tion, 233 ; proclaims national 
bankruptcy, 130; rebellions 
against, 307, 309, 314; re- 
elected, 306 ; removes Diaz's 
friends from office, 305 ; re- 
moves Juan N. Mendez from 
office, 305; removes to San 
Luis Potosi, 169; renounced 
by Trevino, 316; reply of, to 
Maximilian's offer of safe 
conduct, 194; return of, 63; 
returns to capital bankrupt, 
299; returns to Chihuahua, 
231; sends message to Diaz 
through Romero, 212; slan- 
dering of, in; tomb of, Diaz 



INDEX 



at, i ; urged by Diaz to enact 
law for summary execution 
of bandits, 303, 313; weak- 
ness of, as ruler, 302; work 
of, compared to Diaz's, 7; 
Zuloaga, against, 77. 

Juchitan Indians, 87, 88, 90; in- 
subordination of, at Tlacolula, 
99; murder of Felix Diaz by, 
320; uprising of, 90. 

Justice corrupted, 375. 

Kerschel, letter left to, by Diaz 

after escape, 221. 
Khevenhiiller disarmed and 

leaves Mexico, 296; offers to 

withdraw from Mexico City, 

276. 
Kidnapping, 302, 313, 349; after 

French expulsion, 302, 313, 

349 ; under Diaz, 346. 
Kublai Khan, conquests of, 16. 

Labastida officiates at marriage 
of Diaz to Carmen Rubio, 
369- 

La Bufa, battle of ; 324. 

La Carbonera, battle of, 238; 
prisoners paroled by Diaz, 
268. 

Lago visits Diaz before Mexico 
City, 277. 

Landa, 77; at Oaxaca, 101 ; plot 
to kill, 101 ; treason of, 77. 

La Noria, Plan of, 317. 

La Noria farm, 309; sold, 326. 

Larranaga joins revolutionists 
against Juarez, 310. 

Las Jicaras ranch, battle at, 86. 

La Soledad, treaty of, 134, 135. 

Law compelling sale of landed 
church property, 69; of Jua- 
rez, 67. 



Laws of Reform incorporated 
into constitution, 328; final 
decrees of, no. 

Legion of Honor, Diaz's, 263. 

Leon rebellion against Diaz, 362. 

Lerdo, abilities of, 327, 328; at- 
tempts rebellion against Diaz, 
359; death of, 344; denounced 
by Hernandez, 331 ; denounced 
by Iglesias, 343; Diaz attends 
funeral of, 344; Diaz orders 
general election after down- 
fall of, 345; Diaz organizes 
revolution against, 332; flight 
of, 344; incorporates Laws of 
Reform into Constitution, 328 ; 
makes Escobedo Minister of 
War, 332; rebellion against, 
330; reflected by packed Con- 
gress, 343; removes Mejia as 
Minister of War, 332; re- 
quests United States to sup- 
press invasion by Diaz, 332 ; 
Rocha rebels against, 330; 
succeeds Juarez, 324, 325. 

Libertad crew rebels, 360. 

Limantour, 378, 381 ; abolishes 
alcabalas, 390; banking sys- 
tem and, 388; being discred- 
ited, 412 ; changes monetary 
standard, 390; declines to run 
for President, 411; on rail- 
way monopoly, 392; Secretary 
of Finance, 378, 381. 

Loaeza defeats Teran at San 
Mateo Sindihui, 320. 

Loan authorized by Maximilian, 
179; from Bleichroeder, 378; 
paid United States by Diaz, 
352; penalty money on, 374, 
375 ; secured by Diaz upon 
entering Mexico City, 297; to 
Miramon by Jecker, in; to 



432 




DON JOSE YVES LIMANTOUR, MEXICO'S GREAT SECRETARY OF 
FINANCE. 



INDEX 



Miramon by Jecker, Napo- 
leon's claim of, 132. 

Lo de Ovejo, insurgents defeat- 
ed at, 310. 

Lopez, 87; at siege of Quere- 
taro, 285, 286; sent by Maxi- 
milian to ask passport out of 
Mexico, 285. 

Lorencez arrives from France, 
135; dispatch of, to Napoleon 
showing criminal intent, 136; 
flees to Orizaba, 148; procla- 
mation of, to soldiers after 
defeat at Puebla, 147. 

Loreto fort, Diaz prisoner in, 
210; prisoners paroled by 
Diaz, 268. 

Lozada, 322; attempts over- 
throw of Lerdo government, 
327 ; Diaz casts bell for, 323 ; 
executed, 327; meets Diaz, 
322, 323; plan of, 327. 

Macedo, 360. 

Majoma, Arteaga and Patoni 
defeated at, 191. 

Manufacturing industries, 386. 

Manzanillo, Diaz lands at, after 
flight, 321. 

Marquez, 78, 108; at Orizaba, 
148; comes to relief of Pue- 
bla, 260; dashes from be- 
sieged Mexico City, 279; de- 
feated by Diaz on road to 
Mexico City, 270; defeated 
at Jalatlaco, 119; defeated at 
Pachuca, 124; defeats Uraga 
at Morelia, 189; Diaz's hunt 
for, in 1861, 119; disappears 
from besieged Mexico City, 
281 ; military governor of 
capital under Maximilian, 254; 
Miramon's order to, regard- 



ing massacre of Tacubaya, 
109; occupies Morelia, 189; 
officer of Legion of Honor, 
172; proclamation after mas- 
sacre of Tacubaya, 109; re- 
ceives cross of Order of Our 
Lady of Guadalupe, 179; re- 
turns and joins Maximilian, 
251. 

Martinez, Cadena and, defeat 
Guerra at Villa Nueva, 311; 
defeated by Trevino, 311; de- 
serts at Oaxaca, 207; heads 
rebellion in Sinaloa against 
Juarez, 307; joins revolution- 
ists against Juarez, 310. 

Massacre of Cholulans, 23; of 
Tacubaya, 108; of Vera Cruz, 
358, 361. 

Matamoras captured by Diaz 
from Lerdo government, 333. 

Maximilian , 9, 126; abdication 
of, 231, 243, 287; abdication, 
of, demanded by Napoleon, 
250; account of, 174; address- 
es troops before execution, 
292; arrives in Mexico, 180; 
asks passport from Mexico, 
285; at siege of Queretaro, 
284; authorizes loan, 179; 
Black Decree of, 227, 267; 
charge against, 287; court of, 
180-183; defies Napoleon, 251; 
deserted by Napoleon, 241 ; 
Diaz renews war against, 223 ; 
efforts to save life of, 289; 
enters Queretaro, 258; en- 
throned, 171, 180; execution 
of, 284, 291 ; execution of, 
Diaz on, 293 ; extravagances 
of, 179; Fischer intercedes 
with Diaz for life of, 274 ; 
flees to Orizaba, 248; hears 



433 



INDEX 



news of Carlota, " 248 ; hesi- 
tates to accept crown, 175, 
176; ignores demands of 
church, 183; inhuman decree 
of, 227, 267; joined by Mar- 
quez, 251 ; joined by Mira- 
mon, 251 ; joins Clericals, 232, 
247, 248; leads forces, 258; 
letter of, to Carlota, before 
execution, 291 ; letter of, to 
Juarez before execution, 290; 
Motley on, 177; "offers Juarez 
safe conduct, 194; plundering 
of, 256; popular vote for, 
T 77 : 78; power of, destroyed 
in battle by Diaz, 256; Prin- 
cess Salm-Salm intercedes for 
life of, 275, 288, 290; procla- 
mation regarding flight of 
Juarez, 227; sails with wife 
for Mexico, 180; sentenced to 
death, 289; straits of, in 1865, 
214; suggested by Estrada, 
174; taken prisoner by Esco- 
bedo, 276; takes oath, 178; 
tempts Diaz, 194, 248; tries to 
escape punishment, 286, 287 ; 
visits Diaz in prison, 215; 
wishes to parole Diaz, 210. 

Maya Indians, 12, 13, 403; brig- 
andage of, 403. 

Mejia, 2, 78, 81 ; attacks Capital 
with Congress in session, 117; 
defeated at Teotitlan, 94; de- 
feats Negrete in North, 188 ; 
Diaz leaves Congress to repel, 
117; execution of, 291; re- 
ceives cross of Order of Our 
Lady of Guadalupe, 179; re- 
moved as War Minister by 
Lerdo, 332; sentenced to 
death, 289; surrenders Mata- 
moras to republicans, 231. 



Mendez, Juan N., commands in 
capital under Diaz, 345; de- 
feats Arteaga at Santa Anna 
Amatlan, 228; removed from 
office by Juarez, 305. 

Merida, conspiracy against Jua- 
rez in, 310. 

Meson de la Soledad, 35. 

Metternich, Prince, 128. 

Mexican deputation offers crown 
to Maximilian, 176; Empire 
of Napoleon, 126; history, 
Diaz's escape from Compania 
a turning point in, 216, 217; 
independence, 29 ; leaders, I ; 
navy, 420; problem, 396. 

Mexican Central Railway, 354. 

Mexican National Bank, 387. 

Mexican War, 54. 

Mexicans, cannibalistic age of, 
17; character of, 397; origin 
of, 13; submission of, to 
Spanish rule, 27. 

Mexico, area of, 13 ; regenera- 
tion of, under Diaz, 381 ; rep- 
resented at Hague Peace 
Conference, 420; ruins of, 12; 
United States and, govern- 
ments of, compared, 18. 

Michoacan, rebellion in, 307. 

Mihuatlan, battle of, 234; pris- 
oners paroled by Diaz, 268. 

Milicua, 252; shot by Maximil- 
ian decree, 228. 

Military bands in Mexico, 402; 
divisions of Mexico, 231. 

Mineral del Monte, battle of, 
124. 

Mining rights, 385. 

Minister of War, Reyes as, 
412. 

Mints mortgaged, 373. 

Miramon, 2, 78, 108; arrested 



434 



INDEX 



by British Commodore, 134; 
as criminal, no; as President, 
79 ; borrows from Jecker, 1 1 1 ; 
defeated at Calpulalpam, 113; 
defeated at Vera Cruz, 109, 
no; execution of, 291; flight 
of, 113; order to Marquez re- 
garding massacre of Tacu- 
baya, 109; returns and is ar- 
rested by Dunlap, 134; returns 
and joins Maximilian, 251 ; 
sentenced to death, 289; steals 
$660,000 from British Lega- 
tion, no. 
Miranda arrives from France, 

135- 

Mitla, ruins of, 13. 

Mixteco Indians, 33. 

Mixtequilla, battle at, 89. 

Molina, 409; leads rebellion 
against Juarez, 314; secretary 
of Department of Fomento, 
366, 409. 

Monarchy advocated by Estra- 
da, 127. 

Monastic orders, powers of, 40. 

Mongol conquests, ancient Amer- 
ican civilizations and, 16. 

Monks, laxness of, 40, 41. 

Monroe Doctrine, Mexican in- 
dependence and, 31 ; plan to 
enforce, against Napoleon, 

213. 

Monte de las Cruces cleared 
of guerrillas, 119; rebellion 
against Juarez in, 307. 

Monterey, government force de- 
feated by insurgents at, 324; 
seat of Juarez government, 
188. 

Monterrubio, death of, 100. 

Montezuma, Cortes's defeat of, 
21 ; reign of, 18. 



Morelia occupied by French, 

189. 
Morelos, 29, 112, 140; battalion, 

141. 

Mori, 33. 
Morny, 133, 174. 
Mortgages on custom houses, 

372; on national income, 372, 

373- 
Motley on Maximilian, 177, 178. 

Naphegyi, sent to Seward by 
Santa Anna, 242. 

Napoleon, claim of Jecker bonds 
by, 132; defied by Maximilian, 
251 ; demands abdication of 
Maximilian, 250; deserts Max- 
imilian, 241 ; enthrones Max- 
imilian, 171 ; Juarez calls for 
defense against, 136; letter 
of, to Forey at Puebla, 152; 
national programme of, in 
Mexico, 172; plans Mexican 
Empire, 126; plans of, re- 
vealed in Jecker letters, 151 ; 
plans of, Wyke's description 
of Mexico and, 134; reply of, 
to defeat of Fifth of May, 
149; United States and, 229, 
241 ; withdraws troops, 229, 
230, 243, 251. 

Naranjo, against Juarez govern- 
ment, 319; captures Fuero's 
sharpshooters at Icamole, 334; 
Trevino and, defeat govern- 
ment force at Monterey, 324. 

National cemetery, Diaz at, i ; 
control of railways, 392, 393 ; 
credit under Diaz, 352, 370; 
expenses and resources under 
Juarez, 312; finances at death 
of Juarez, 326; finances dur- 
ing Diaz's first term, 370; 



435 



INDEX 



finances during Diaz's second 
term, 372; income in 1877-78, 
381; income in 1906-07, 382; 
income in 1908-09, 382; in- 
come mortgaged, 372, 373; 
mounted rural police, 347 ; 
opera house, 418; palace mort- 
gaged, 373. 
National Railroad of Mexico, 

354- 

Navy of Mexico, 420. 

Negrete attempts rebellion 
against Diaz, 359; defeated by 
Mejia in North, 188; rebels 
against Juarez, 307, 310, 316. 

Neigre stirs up trouble regard- 
ing worship of Protestant 
troops, 189. 

New Orleans, Diaz in, 321. 

New Year's festivities at Te- 
huantepec, 88. 

New York, Diaz, disguised, 
journeys from, to Tampico, 

335- 

Newspapers attack Diaz in re- 
tirement, 311, 312. 

Nickel used as currency during 
Gonzalez administration, 371. 

Niox on courage of Mexicans 
at Puebla, 156. 

Noriega besieged by Diaz at 
Puebla, 258, 259. 

Oaxaca, Alatorre and Rocha 
sent against, by Juarez, 319; 
arms of, 33; arrival at, from 
north, 186; Ballesteros gov- 
ernor of, 187 ; battalion of, 
65; battle of, in 1866, 234, 
239; battle of, under Gover- 
nor Ordoz, 81 ; Bazaine com- 
mands against, 204; demorali- 
zation at siege of, 204-207 ; 



desertions at, 204; Diaz cap- 
tured at, and escapes again, 
204, 209, 216; Diaz governor 
of, 1 86, 367; Diaz marches to, 
from North, 185; Diaz orga- 
nizes new infantry brigade at, 
187; Diaz rescues, from Co- 
bos, 98, 102; Diaz retires from 
army to, 309; Diaz supports 
Juarez at, 68, 69; Diaz wound- 
ed at, 103; educational work 
at, 367; falls to Fren<Ji, 207; 
falls to Juarez's army, 320; 
French siege of, 204; held 
against French, 187, 188; 
Landa at, 101 ; prisoners pa- 
roled by Diaz, 268; revolution 
of, against Juarez crushed, 
320; Salinas at, 101, 102; 
siege of, 81, 101, 234, 239; 
surrendered by Oronoz to 
Diaz, 239; surrendered to 
Diaz against Lerdo, 343; tak- 
en by Hernandez against Ler- 
do, 331. 

Oaxaca Lancers, 104. 

Oaxaca, Queretaro, Mexico, 
and Guerrero, Diaz's march 
through, 185. 

Ocampo, murder of, 114. 

Occupation of City of Mexico 
by Liberals, 113, 114. 

Ogazon, 316. 

O'Horan interviews Diaz before 
Mexico City, 280; reaches 
Juarez from besieged Puebla, 
162; shot, 296. 

Ordoz as governor of Oaxaca, 
80; at Ixtlan, 92; death of, 
101 ; proclamation of, to Na- 
tional Guard, 81. 

Oriental origin of Indian popu- 
lation, 13. 



43 6 



INDEX 



Orizaba, Maximilian flees to, Pope Alexander VTs division 



248. 

Oronoz defeated at Miahuatlan, 
234; surrenders Oaxaca to 
Diaz, 239. 

Ortega commands Mexican 
forces against French, 154; 
defeated by Diaz at Jamil- 
tepee, 226; heads rebellion 
against Juarez, 233 ; recap- 
tures Guadalajara, 113. 

Osmont in Maximilian cabinet, 
231. 

Osollo, 78. 

Otterbourg tries to obtain con- 
ditions for surrender of Mex- 
ico City, 281. 



Pachuca, battle of, 124. 

Palacio, 277; heads rebellion in 
Sinaloa against Juarez, 307. 

Papal nuncio, expulsion of, 
114; sent to Maximilian, 183. 

Parcho shot by Maximilian de- 
cree, 228. 

Patoni defeated at Majoma, 
191 ; force of, disbands, 191 ; 
joins Juarez, 190. 

Penalty money on loans, 374, 

375- 

"Peor es Nada," 65. 
Perez, 46; imprisoned by Santa 

Anna, 51 ; in plot against 

Santa Anna, 51. 
Pixtala, Carpintero defeated by 

Diaz at, 223. 
Plundering of Maximilian and 

generals, 256. 
Poinsett, 40. 
Political chiefs, 396, 402; chiefs 

of Tehuantepec, 86; condi- 
tions in Mexico, 397. 



of undiscovered lands, 21. 

Postal service, 385. 

Prehistoric Mexico, 12. 

President of Supreme Court, 
term of, 379. 

President's suspension veto, 306. 

Press attacks Diaz in retire- 
ment, 311, 312. 

Priesthood or law for Diaz, 43. 

Priests, refranchizement of, 306. 

Prim, 133. 

Prince de Joinville, 38. 

Privileges of Church and Army, 
abolition of, 66. 

Protestant troops, worship of, 
trouble caused by, 189. 

Public schools, 388. 

Puebla, battle of, 140, 143; cap- 
ture of, address of Diaz to 
soldiers after, 266; Diaz 
caught in fired building at 
siege of, 259; Diaz escapes 
from French after fall of, 
166; Diaz led into, a prisoner, 
210; Diaz lays siege to, 258, 
259; falls to Diaz, 264; falls 
to French, 165; Forey at, 151; 
French siege of, 154; French 
siege of, straits of Mexicans, 
164; prisoners paroled by 
Diaz at, 268 ; stormed by 
night by Diaz, 261 ; surren- 
ders to Diaz against Lerdo, 

344- 
Puerto de San Jose, rebellion 

of, against Juarez, 310. 
Purser assists Diaz to elude 

Lerdo's soldiery, 338. 



Queretaro as capital of Liber- 
als, 77; besieged by Corona 



437 



INDEX 



and Escobedo, 258; entered 
by Maximilian, 258; falls to 
Escobedo, 276; siege of, by 
republicans, 284. 

Queretaro, Oaxaca, Mexico, 
and Guerrero, Diaz's march 
through, 185. 

Quintana Roo, brigandage in, 

403- 

Race question in Mexico, 256. 

Railways, 328, 383, 384; across 
Isthmus of Tehuantepec, 368; 
American, Diaz and, 354; 
controlled by National govern- 
ment, 392, 393; merger of 
Diaz, 391, 393; monopoly, 
Diaz takes measures to pre- 
vent, 391, 393. 

Ramirez in Congress of 1861, 
123. 

Rebellion against constitution 
of 1857, 73 ; against Diaz, 
359; against Juarez, 307, 309, 
314; against Lerdo, 330; 
against Santa Anna, 56; of 
Tacubaya, 71. 

Reelection, Diaz proposes 
amendment forbidding, 353. 

Regeneration of Mexico under 
Diaz, 381. 

Regla, Count de, 26. 

Religious feeling at time of 
Spanish invasion, 21 ; free- 
dom under Diaz, 415, 416; 
reign at time of Diaz's birth, 
36. 

Reorganization, army of, 331. 

Republic, continuance of, after 
Diaz, 410; kept alive in South 
by Diaz, 184. 

Republican despair in North, 
188. 

Results of Diaz's rule, 381. 



Reus, Countess, Felix Diaz and, 
138. 

Revenue under Diaz, 363. 

Reward for Diaz's capture, 221. 

Reyes, General Bernardo, Min- 
ister of War, 412; movement 
for Vice President, 413; tries 
to defeat Limantour for Pres- 
ident, 412, 413. 

Reyes, Manuel Ortega, 75; 
daughter of, wife of Diaz 
during siege of Mexico City, 
279. 

Rio Grande crossed by Diaz 
against Lerdo, 332. 

Rocha, Alatorre and, sent by 
Juarez against Oaxaca, 319; 
captures Tampico from in- 
surgents, 315; defeats Guerra 
at Bufa, 324; defeats insur- 
gents at Lo de Ovejo, 310; 
flees abroad, 330; rebels 
against Lerdo, 330; pursues 
Diaz, 320. 

Romero, Don Felix, 125. 

Romero, Don Matias, 87; gets 
message to Diaz from Jua- 
rez, 212. 

Roosevelt's opinion of Diaz, 6, 
376. 

Root on Diaz, 376, 419. 

Resales in Simaloa, 191. 

Rosas defeated by Ceballos, 
320. 

Rubio, daughter of, wife of 
Diaz, 368 ; starts movement 
for President to succeed him- 
self, 379. 

Ruins of Mexico, 12. 

Rule of Diaz, wonderful re- 
sults of, 381. 

Rural police, 347. 

Ru rales, 348. 



438 



INDEX 



Russell on Napoleon's claims, 
133- 

Sacred and Knightly Order of 
Our Lady of Guadalupe, 178. 
Salado, 73, 74. 
Salary reduction by Diaz, 376, 

377- 

Salazar shot by Maximilian de- 
cree, 228. 

Salinas, 88; at Oaxaca, 101, 102. 

Salm-Salm, Princess, intercedes 
for Maximilian's life, 275, 
288, 290. 

Saltillo seat of Juarez govern- 
ment, 188. 

San Agustin, defense of, 163. 

San Andres Chalchicomula, re- 
treat of Mexican Army to, 
149. 

San Antonio Nanahuatipan, 
Diaz's secret march to, 191, 
192. 

San Cristobal captured from 
French, 188. 

San Domingo del Valle, battle 
at, 1 01. 

San Javier fort destroyed by 
French, 155. 

San Juan de Ulloa captured by 
Allies's forces, 132. 

San Luis de Lozada church, 
Diaz casts bell for, 323. 

San Luis Potosi, government 
seat, 169; rebellion against 
Juarez in, 310. 

San Marcos block, defense of, 
158, 161. 

San Mateo Sindihui, battle of, 
320. 

Santa Anna, 30, 37; and Sew- 
ard, 241 ; death of, 63 ; de- 
feat of, by General Scott, 54; 



defeat of, final, 56, 63; Diaz 
defies, 54; Diaz flees from, 
59; prisoner of Texan Army, 
54; return of, in 1853, 51; re- 
volt against, 56; traitorous 
dealings of, 54, 55; voting 
for, 57. 

Santa Catarina Convent, Diaz 
prisoner at, 211; Diaz re- 
moved from, to Compania 
convent, 212. 

Santa Ines Convent fort, de- 
fense of, 163. 

Schenet leaves Mexico, 296. 

Schools, 388, 417. 

Scott defeats Santa Anna, 54. 

Serfdom of Mexicans during 
Spanish rule, 26. 

Seward and Santa Anna, 241. 

Seward's notification of France 
regarding Mexico, 241. 

Siege of City of Mexico by 
Diaz, 270; of Oaxaca by Diaz, 
101 ; of Oaxaca by French, 
204; of Puebla by Diaz, 258, 
2 595 of Queretaro by repub- 
licans, 284. 

Silacayoapan occupied by Diaz, 
226. 

Silver production, of Mexico, 
385 ; standard, change from, 
to gold, 390. 

Sinaloa, rebellion in, 307. 

Slavery in Mexico, 404, 409. 

Sonora, brigandage in, 403; 
frontier of, sale of, to United 
States, 56. 

Soyaltepec, Diaz holds own at, 
321. 

Spain, conduct of, regarding 
debt, 131, 132; treaty with, 
112. 

Spanish conquest, Mexican serf- 



439 



INDEX 



dom during, 26; Inquisition, 
27; invasion, 9; invasion, can- 
nibalism at time of, 17; inva- 
sion, religious feeling during, 
21 ; lust for wealth, 25 ; min- 
ister, expulsion of, 114; rule, 
24; submission to, 27. 

Spoliation by Spaniards, 25. 

Stage coaches, robbing of, 350. 

State and Church, final struggle 
between, 56, 106. 

State sovereignty, 400. 

Suffrage in Mexico, 397. 

Sugar refineries, 386. 

Supreme Court President, term 
of, 379- 

Suspension of payments on for- 
eign debts, 130. 

Suspension veto of President, 
306. 

Tacubaya, battle of, 108; plan 
of, 71 ; revolution of, 71. 

Taft shakes hand of Diaz, 419, 
420. 

Tamaulipas rebellion against 
Juarez, 308, 310. 

Tampico, Diaz captured at, 337 ; 
harbor, Diaz's work on, 367; 
rebellion against Juarez, 314. 

Tapia defeated at Orizaba, 148. 

Tavera surrenders himself to 
Diaz, 295; tries to obtain sur- 
render conditions for Mexico 
City, 281. 

Tecoac, battle of, 343. 

Tehuacan, military duties of 
Diaz at, 301, 305. 

Tehuantepec, capture of, by 
Cobos, 94; Diaz at, alertness 
of, 89; Diaz governor of, 85; 
fighting in, 80; New Year's 
festivities at, 88; railway 



across, 368; recapture of, 94; 
situation of Diaz at, 85; 
strategy of Diaz at, 90; 
United States naval officers 
entertained at, 93. 

Tehuantepec National Railway, 
85, 393- 

Tehuitzingo, Diaz surprises de- 
tachment at, 223. 

Tejada, Miguel Lerdo de, 69. 

Tejada, Sebastian Lerdo de, 69, 
130. 

Telegraph lines of Mexico, 384. 

Temple, Bernal Diaz's descrip- 
tion of, 19. 

Teocali, Bernal Diaz's descrip- 
tion of, 19. 

Teotitlan, defeat of Mejia at, 
94- 

Tepic, Diaz flees to, 322. 

Teran arrests Fuero, 360; de- 
feated at San Mateo Sindihui 
by Loalza, 320; goes insane, 
362; in charge of revolution- 
ists in Oaxaca, 320; shoots 
civilians in Vera Cruz revolt, 
362; rebellion of, against 
Diaz, 362; tries to save Diaz 
in burning building, 259. 

Tetuan, Duke of, 147. 

Tetzcatlipuca, 19. 

Texas, revolt of, 39. 

" The Master," 323. 

Thiele, 252. 

" Three guarantees," 30. 

Thun, 213; and Diaz, 213, 214; 
letter left to, by Diaz, after 
escape, 220, 221. 

" Tiger of Tacubaya," 108. 

Tlacolula, battle of, 99. 

"Tlapa, battle of," 225. 

Tlascalans, Cortes's battle with, 
23- 






440 



INDEX 



Tlaxiaco taken from Trujeque, 
226. 

Tobacco factories, 386. 

Toledo rebels against Juarez, 
316. 

Toltecs, origin of, 16. 

Tomb of Juarez, Diaz at, i. 

Torre, 277. 

Transportation facilities under 
Diaz, 383, 384- 

Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, 
55 ; of La Soledad, 134 ; of La 
Soledad, violation of, 135; 
with Spain, 112. 

Trejo, victory at, 101. 

Trevino against Juarez govern- 
ment, 319; defeats Martinez, 
311; Naranjo and, defeat 
government force at Mon- 
terey, 324; renounces Juarez, 
3i6. 

Trujeque defeated by Diaz, 226. 

Tulcingo, battle of, 224. 

Tuxtepec, plan of, 331 ; plan of, 
Diaz adds constructive pro- 
gramme to, 332. 



Udueta, 184. 

United States and Austria, 230; 
and Diaz revolution against 
Lerdo, 332; and Mexican gov- 
ernments, comparison of, 18; 
and Napoleon, 229, 241 ; civil 
war in, cost of, 213; civil war 
in, Mexico and, 129, 137; feel- 
ing against, 354; interference 
of, in attack on Vera Cruz, 
109, no; naval officers of, at 
Tehuantepec, 93; offer of, to 
assume debt, 131 ; protection 
of Diaz by, after capture at 
Tampico, 337; railway ques- 



tion and, 354; recognizes Jua- 
rez government, 229, 241 ; 
visited by Diaz and bride, 
369; war with, 54. 

Uraga, commander against Na- 
poleon's forces, 137; defeated 
by Marquez at Morelia, 189; 
Diaz's reply to, 199; interme- 
diary between Maximilian and 
Diaz, 196; letter of, to tempt 
Diaz to forsake cause, 197; 
traitor, 190; vacillation of, 
190. 

Valadez deserts at Oaxaca, 206. 

Vallarta, 316. 

Valle, deatn of, 114. 

Valley of Mexico, drainage ca- 
nal for, 367, 395. 

Vega, Diaz in home of, 322. 

Vera Cruz, as government seat 
of Juarez, 78; Diaz at, during 
French invasion, 149; Diaz es- 
capes from vessel at, 339, 340; 
Diaz flees to, from Huajua- 
pam, 320; Diaz reaches, in 
flight, 321 ; massacre of, 358, 
361 ; Miramon defeated at, 
109, no. 

Veto power of President, 306. 

Vidaurri shot, 295; traitor, 188; 
taken prisoner of war, 295. 

Villa Nueva, government de- 
feated by insurgents at, 311. 

Villagomez shot by Maximili- 
an's decree, 228. 

Virgin of Guadalupe, 28. 

Virgin of La Soledad, Diaz 
seizes jewels of, 239. 

Virgin of Remedies, 28. 

Visoso defeated by Diaz at At- 
lixco, 226; defeated by Diaz 
at Tulcingo, 224; deserts im- 
perial forces, 226. 



441 



INDEX 



" War of the Pies," 38. 

War of Rebellion in United 
States, cost of, 213; Mexico 
and, 129, 137. 

"War of the Reforms," 71. 

War portfolio given to Reyes, 
412. 

War with United States, 54. 

Wealth carried to Spain, 25; of 
Diaz, 396. 

White and Indian blood, pro- 
portion of, in Mexico, 14. 

Wyke's description of Mexico, 
Napoleon's plans and, 134. 

Yaqui Indians, 403 ; brigandage 
of, 403; deported to Yucatan, 
407. 

Yucatan, people of, 409; popu- 
lation of, 13; rebellion of 



1868 in, 307; ruins of, 12; 
slavery in, 404, 409; Yaqui 
Indians prisoners in, 407. 



Zacapoaxtla rebellion against 

Juarez, 307. 

Zamacono leader of new Con- 
gress, 307. 
Zongolica mountains, Diaz hides 

in, 321. 
Zapotecs, 33. 
Zaragoza, 2; commander against 

Napoleon's invaders, 137; 

death of, 154. 
Zongolica mountains, Diaz flees 

to, 321. 
Zuloaga, 71; against Juarez, 77; 

as Clerical President, 77; rev- 
olution of, 71. 



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